Chinese New Year

Chinese new year (CNY) is always a great time of reunion.

CNY 2015 Reunion Dinner
CNY 2015 Reunion Dinner

Many of us may be working far away from home town, busy schedule prevents us to visit our parents and relatives often. CNY is one of those beautiful moments you can share with them.

2nd Day of CNY at Concorde Hotel

2nd Day of CNY at Concorde Hotel

I heard young people telling me that CNY is such a waste of time. Big groups of family friends gather together doing “aimless” activities like gambling, chatting (or gossiping), cooking and washing. CNY is no longer treasured by our younger generations. Why? I can think of a few reasons for this phenomenon.

  1. Nuclear family structure becoming a norm – How do we define a family now? The first thing comes into our mind is “husband, wife and children”, right? This is our society’s “normal” family structure. We do not encourage living with our parents because they tend to interfere our family affairs. There are many good points to live as a nuclear family – the couple can learn to cope with life independently and therefore develop maturity in their characters. The downside of this is that these children grow up without interacting with grandparents very much. Grandpa and gandma are guests who come to visit them once in a blue moon – and their visits often create arguments between their parents. The antidote is to increase the opportunities for the children to interact with extended family members like going outings, travelling, shopping or having meals together. Do not make CNY is the only time the children meeting their uncles, aunties, cousins and nephews.
  2. Parents’ hypocrisy – When we are not with the extended family, our children hear complaints and gossips about grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins and nephews. The words are filled with anger, jealousy and sarcasm. During CNY, they see parents’ facial expressions change and sweetest words come out “naturally”  from the lips – they are seeing the hypocrisy and they hate it. What the parents ignore or despise, the children reject. The antidote is to be REAL. We live a life which always give honest credit and praise to our extended family members, stop all the striving and jealousy among siblings but be thankful for each one of them.
  3. The influence of Western individualistic culture – The Western education and culture is mostly based on a self-centred operational mode. When parents are not placing importance to the value of community (which is one of the core value of Chinese or oriental culture), mutual love and generosity of blessing others, we should not be surprised by our children’s inclination of living a life looking at their own interest only. They will abhor any inconvenience arising from interacting with extended family which does not bring “benefits” to them. The small amount of money inside the red packets does not worth their effort to endure the inconveniences. The antidote is to teach community and oriental value by living examples. We practice generosity by giving to family and friends’ needs, encourage to live inconveniently for the sake of others, constantly remind our children of the positive value and root of the oriental culture and not idolising the Western culture and value (though they do have many good parts for us to learn from)

Of course there are many more reasons and ways of helping our children to appreciate CNY and the cultural value therein. You are welcome to give your suggestions via the comment in this post.

Our CNY tradition - Dim Sum brunch

Our CNY tradition – Dim Sum brunch

Above all, LOVE is the main reason for us to celebrate CNY. We want to share our love with our extended family members. We want to full heartedly wish them goodwill and blessings.

A Christian friend share this CNY song with me via his FB. It was composed by his church friends. I love it – CNY is a time we recount God’s grace and blessings and be thankful in our hearts. CNY is also a time we want to share with our extended family members, relatives and friends the love of Jesus as we experience it daily.

I hope you enjoy this new CNY song – 蒙福

恭祝大家农历新年蒙恩 Wishing all a blessed CNY

农历新年终于到了 Finally….Chinese New Year is here

时间过得真快,一转眼明天就是年除夕了。除夕夜是华人全家聚集一起吃团圆饭的日子。现今的年轻人,因为个人主义抬头,大家庭制度的流失,已经无法明白团圆饭的意义了。

Time flies…..we are going to celebrate Chinese New Year Eve tomorrow. Usually it is a time when the whole family (including all extended family members) having a reunion dinner together. With the increasing individualistic value and extended family disappearing rapidly, the younger generations may not see the significance of this event.

可是,你们知道吗?这个简单的年夜饭是很多长辈日夜等待的日子,尤其是他们的儿孙没有跟他们同住的老人。

Do you know? For most of elderly family members, this is a day they have been looking forward for the entire year. This is especially true when most of their children and grand children are staying away from them for the rest of the year.

他们殷切盼望见到你们 They are looking forward to seeing you…………….

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Celebrating Chinese New Year with Songs and Red Decorations

RedNext Thursday is the Chinese New Year Eve. I decided to change the background of my Blog to reflect the festive season and its joyous mood.

It reminds us the year is coming to an end soon and a completely new year awaiting us. I pray that there is peace in every heart, peace in every nation and peace in the world.

And for every Christian, may Philippians 4:7 be with us always; “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Red is the favorite colour in Chinese New Year. Wherever you go, shopping centres, markets, shops, schools, recreation places and streets, you cannot miss the “redness” of these places. I wrote a Chinese article last year about this special colour in this festive season. Let me share with you.

大家一起过个红彤彤的新年

前几天,我买了些新年装饰品,墙上贴上红春联,客厅挂一串闪闪发亮的红爆竹,角落摆设红扇,置放一束红桃花,一篮子的柑和礼篮,再从书房拿出杭州买的”枫桥夜泊”的字画挂在饭厅………….真的满室春意盎然.爸爸一踏进家门,马上露出笑脸:”哈 哈,这样红彤彤的才有新年的气氛!” 他拖着小侄儿的手,站在春联面前,操着浓浓的客家音念着:”甜甜蜜蜜庆团圆,欢欢喜喜迎新年.”

传统的新年是红色的.

近几十年来,”传统”这个词儿让人标签成”落伍”,”老土”和”退步”等负面的意义.记得很多年前,市场风行全黑的“乌鸦”装,爱“酷”的青少年,大年初一也百无禁忌,穿了一身黑向祖父母拜年.长辈一看,脸一沉,背过身去,吐口唾液:”大吉利是!”在当年的确掀起一场热闹的”代沟战”.老的说,年青人不尊敬长辈,年初一穿黑色,象穿孝服出街,别人不知情,还以为家里死了人呢!小的也不甘示弱,他们说,老一辈食古不化,颜色本身是中立的,他们只是随己好穿戴,没半点不敬之意.当年我是个年青人,纵使我不苟老人家的迷信,我选择体恤他们的心情.他们多数没受过高深的教育,他们用咸咸的汗水和坚挺的背脊把一家人养活.他们最怕的是天灾人祸,命运强霸捣碎一家的幸福,所以他们要平安吉利,要风调雨顺,任何触霉头的东西都避而远之. 其实,我还很庆幸,年轻人只是把黑色穿戴身上,而不是让它们变成”乌云满地”.试想想,门前挂黑布条,春联黑纸写,收到的红包是”黑包”………这是怎样的一种新年啊?

传统的新年是连串好话如玉珠洒满地的季节.

新年里,除了保持红润健康的面颊,笑容可掬,温婉有礼外,也要操练自己多讲好话,免说触”霉头”不吉祥的话.新年期间说好话是合宜的.你听,大街小巷播放的贺岁歌曲:”……见面第一句话,就是恭喜恭喜…….”你看,做买卖的最爱收到”恭喜发财,生意兴隆,大展鸿图”的贺年片,同学们互道祝福,”学业进步,万事如意”永远受落,市井百姓要求”年年有余,身体健康,吉祥顺利”.但愿这不是流于表面功夫,乃是从心发出的祝福.

圣经里的箴言如此说:”一句话说得合宜,就如金苹果在银网子里。”金苹果在银网的画面本身就是一种美,绝对符合赏心悦目的标准.如果我们常年都慎言,诚心用话语祝福鼓励身边的人,我相信社会更美,我们的面容也会变得”赏心悦目”吧? 我希望天天是新年,人人讲好话,一切的误会,不欢, 咒诅和怨恨,都要了结,定意要重建温馨和睦的关系.

也许你会说我很老土,我还是喜欢红彤彤的新年,爱听充满温馨关怀的祝福语,它让我看到中国传统的颜色,感觉新春希望的喜悦,增添温馨和喜气,更让人与人的关系有重新出发的盼望.

Besides seeing red everywhere, you also hear Chinese new year songs being played everywhere. Most of the songs are traditional with fire crackers, drums and cymbals as the background. They are great to add to the festive atmosphere.

However, I like a more sentimental Chinese songs sung by Kelvin Lau 刘勇男 & Angie Leong 梁爱慈 recorded in 1997. Click the video below and start enjoying it.