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Wednesday, 09 February 2005

CNY 2005 - A Subdued Celebration

The clock struck 12 midnight.

I was still at home alone. I had only just finished publishing my previous entry when I received CNY greetings via SMS from Adrian Wong and Geraldine. I was waiting for my parents and brother to arrive Perth Perth International Airport. My family decided to come to Perth partly because my father wanted to escape from the multitude of CNY visits. He appreciates friends' and family's concerns, but he needs his rest more than anything else at the moment.

Happy CNY SMS from Geraldine
Kim logged onto MSN Messenger. I told her that this is the first CNY that I'll actually give angpow to my parents. Kim was confused, since she thought that its only after we are married that we would have to give angpow to our parents. I'm not too sure myself - my mother had told me that its the tradition to give angpow to our parents once we started working full-time.

Then it hit me. My mother is trying to to con an angpow out of me!!!

I picked the three of them up from the airport around 1:15am. My father has indeed lost more weight - the full cheek and rounded chin are replaced by skinny sinking cheeks. When at home alone, sometimes he would stare into blank space. I am not sure if he is waiting for people to talk to him, if he wanted something to read, or if he just wanted to be alone.

My father's pill box - all the pills for ONE DAY
When I asked him what's wrong, he said that its a combination of him feeling fatigued after the long plane ride, as well as the reaction from the cocktail of pills he has to take everyday. Its hard to describe how I feel everytime I see my father suffering. But if you can visualise my beating heart being twisted and wringed dry like a wet towel, then you're pretty close to imagining how I feel.

Ang Pow
My father and I spoke until about 2:30am. When my parents were about to go to bed, I went to their bedroom and presented my angpows to each of them. I gave them A$395 each, which isn't much compared to what they had given me all these while and what they have prepared for me in the future. I had wanted to give them A$400, but the number '4' is considered bad luck in Chinese - which is why I gave them A$395 instead in red and pink notes. The smile and satisfaction on my father's face upon receiving the angpow lit up my heart. "Lau liaw loh! (I'm old already!)" my father said with a chuckle.

This morning I woke up to find my father sitting in the living room alone, my brother still sleeping and my mother cleaning the house - ignoring all Chinese superstitions. No one is in CNY mood! I changed into my red shirt to add a slight hint of CNY flavour for the day, bought the morning newspaper for my father to read, and went off to work just like any other day.

CNY Concert Poster
There were no hyperactive little cousins visiting. No noisy Chinese New Year "stars" (note quotation marks) shouting with their incredibly high pitched voices, with their two hands glued together in a "gong xi" pose... "stars" who happen to be unfortunate enough to have pathetic names like "Lung Piao Piao". We didn't even play any of those Vengaboys-remixed Chinese New Year songs or another over-synthesised number by the Thai group "China Dolls".

We had a nice and peaceful delayed reunion dinner with the entire family member present. And that's the way we like it.

So, how was your Chinese New Year?

10 Comments

Unregistered

new years for me was like another day. no hype no nothing. its has been like this for 4 years already. sad hey.

Unregistered

Hi Kenny
I guess you are treasuring every moment of this New Year as a family and it will remains precious for a long, long time. I have spend sometime reading through your blogs. Hope all is well with your dad.

Unregistered

Gong xi!

I am stuck at the office, in a meeting for 8 hours today, all day. I snuck out to read your blog. You should be proud :)

I hope your father enjoys the trip since he gets to spend time with you. You are a good son, better than a daughter I will ever be. :D Jia you.

Unregistered

Gong Xi Fa Chai, Kenny.
Well i dun celebrate cny cus im not chinese, u see.

oh. hey i hope your dad is ok. everything will be fine. no worries, yeah. i know how much he means to u.

Unregistered

hey its always nice to be able to celebrate cny with family members ...

well mine was rather simple this year ... not much hoo hah's as compared to previous years ...

Unregistered

Hey Kenny ^^" good to hear u had an enjoyable cny dinner. I'm sorry I wasn't able to wish u a happy lunar new year, but if it ain't too late now, then umm... HAPPY CNY!!! hehehe this is always the happiest time of the year for me, and I hope it is for you too. I hope your daddy regains his health soon because it's very hard for not only him but all his loved ones: in particular his children. I think it was very admirable of you to give your parents red packets (I'm not quite there yet, you see) and to consider the numerical value -- well, it just goes to show what a filial son you are. Cheers Bro.

Unregistered

what CNY? haha spent it by watchin tv and err sleep. so sad yah.

no matter how much u put in the ang pao, its the thought that counts. bet your dad and mom is so proud of u. not many sons/daughters gives their parents ang pao once they are working

Unregistered

Feli - Its Perth! What can we do about it rite?

Lilian - 5xmom! Gong Xi Gong Xi. You know when I started this site, I visualised the kind of people who would visit it. Let's just say that I never actually expected a mother-of-five from Penang to be one of them!

Hsin - That's nice! Oh yea, remember those ads you clicked last time round? I got USD1.68 out of it. Not bad eh? A nice ang pow from you. Heh.

Victoria - Thanks for the well wishes. It feels great to receive such wishes from anyone, Chinese or non-Chinese. :)

Earl Ku - What not much hoo hahs! You get to go to the clubs to have alcohol, see pretty girls and post up pictures for people like me to admire. Don't play play!

Bek - CNY is usually a happy time for me as well. In previous years, we would visit families and relatives on the first day, stayed at home to be visited on the second day, visit my own friends on the third day, and then waste all our angpow earnings on the fourth day on some mundane stuff. Everything is red, and everywhere its noisy. Just because of my father's condition that its much more toned down this year. Regardless I still find it great that I'm able to receive greetings from all over the world, including yours. Thanks for the wishes and have a great CNY yourself. :)

Unregistered

about the ang pow giving,
people in taiwan give angpow when times they can afford or had started to work.
giving angpow after marriage is malaysian chinese style...not connected to the tradition at all.

Unregistered

Very good reading. Peace until next time.
WaltDe

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