Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Reflecting this CNY

Since the passing of my grandmother slightly less than a decade ago, I have always had the impression that my 3rd aunt is the most traditional person in the family. She is a spinster who stays with us, and has been dictating how things should be done in family when it comes to Chinese practices.

Having now spent the 3rd Chinese New Year without my Mom, I think my impression may be inaccurate…

My 1st CNY after the passing of Mom was spent in London, on secondment. Nothing much can be done about that. Strange though, the 2nd and the recent 3rd CNY spent without Mom, there was absolutely no emphasis placed on the CNY eve reunion dinner. My aunt didn’t seem to “enforce” it that much.

We also have this tradition of “hoi lin” (commencing of the new year), which falls on the second day of CNY where again, everyone has to be around for brunch. It is a significant event for my family. However, this tradition seems to have lost its fang this CNY and the last. My aunt doesn’t seem care much if everyone is around for brunch that signifies the commencement of a new year.

Rewind the lunar calendar a little, and we have the “Tung” festival, the one where chinese make “tong yuen” (those little rice balls in sweet ginger soup). I have always been thought that “tung dai go lin”, which means “Tung” festival is actually more important than CNY. I have never been home for dinner during “Tung” since my Mom passed away…

Reflecting all these made me realise that my Mom was the driving force behind all the traditions, not my aunt. Considering that my Mom came from a Malay village (she’s Chinese) and she didn’t speak much Cantonese or eat much pork when she arrived at KL, she must have taken a lot of effort to do all that.

The 15th day of CNY, the “Chap Goh Meh” is another date where being home for dinner is of great importance, or so it used to be. My aunt’s reply to me when I asked about it was “Up to you ler”… I think the least I can do is to make sure that this dinner happens, as it used to be…


1 year ago…
You better give yourself a choice before…

2 years ago…
Absolute bolehness

3 years ago…
A Chinese New Year missing

19 comments:

Kellaw said...

happy cny to you too!!!

Ninja Coffee said...

Tradition or not, I like to believe that the real spirit of CNY lies in the heart.
Happy Chinese New Year.

kyh said...

Instead of relying on the elderly, we ourselves should play the part. The festivals will never be the same again if the spirit and customs that live on it have ceased to exist.

Angie Tan said...

Hi zewt!

KONG HEI FATT CHOY!!

Yeah.. I know what you mean about spending CNY without our loved ones. Anyway, like what my uncles and aunts often say, they wonder how we, the younger generation will celebrate the 团圆饭 (tun yun fan) when they are "gone" since most of us don't know how to cook the traditional foods.

However, this year, we broke tradition and ate out. We didn't have a lot of traditional food like what my grandma cooked but the feeling of being together as a family is more important.

Hope that your CNY is great & that you'll have a great chap goh meh with your family.

sabrina said...

Aiya sorry for the late wishes...happy CNY dude!

Fi-sha said...

Dearest Zewt

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

I really hope you would make efforts to enliven the traditions because scientifically proven that people who cherish their tradition are happier and above all, those are sweet memories of childhood, growing up with your beloved Mom. Through these traditions, i think, we start to see things and people through our Mom's eyes. And thats beautiful.

"Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world" ~ Susan Lieberman

Take care and let us know ok!

Hilman Nordin said...

Happy Chinese New Year!

Terra Shield said...

Happy Chinese New Year, Zewt...

Pinknpurplelizard said...

Its up to oneself to keep the traditions alive. Shouldnt always depend on others eventhough they may be more senior. Better to take the pre-emptive and initiative first. ;)

whoalse said...

Keong Hee Huat Chye, ah zewt! ^_^

Well, I guess you may have to enforce the Chap Goh Meh dinner then to keep the spirit of togetherness. My family still ensure we have the reunion dinner and the brunch on 1st day of CNY though my grandparents have passed on.

If this is not done, family bond that ties us together would be gradually lost its place.

missironic said...

Gong Xi Fa Cai, Zewt!! :D

Melisa said...

Kung Hei Fat Choi, Zewt!

Traditions like that are really important to keep family ties strong. I like Chinese things like that. The Filipinos also have strong family ties, but not as close as the Chinese.

Your mom must have been a woman of few words but had a very strong personality. She does not enforce things, but she has a way of making you respect her thoughts and decisions.

eiling lim said...

I think our generation pretty much lacked the knowledge and encouragement to continue the true CNY traditions. Sooner or later CNY will be just another public holiday.

MKL said...

There's so many traditions behind CNY, because your culture is the most diverse and complex in the world. And your ancestors had to go through some tough times. In the end, the most important thing about CNY is to be happy and hopeful for the future. It's more like a cleansing ceremony, where you reflect upon the past, but you decide to leave it behind. A new year is like a new birth.

Dienasty said...

Oh god. =( Please do get your family to come together, Zewt.

And Gong Hey Fatt Choy to you too; may you have a prosperous, happy year ahead. =)

kyliemc said...

happy cny!!! it's always good to have family around you to share everything ;)

zewt said...

Kellaw / Sabrina / Hilman Nordin / Terra Shield / missironic - cheers!

Ninja Coffee - and we must shot it.

kyh - absolutely. we are the ones who will keep it going.

Angie Tan - well, as long as we come together for it, i think where and what we eat is not important... right?

Fi-sha - well said, i think we will always cherish our childhood. the tougher it is, the more we cherish them.

Pinknpurlelizard - latest info suggests i may miss it... kidney urinalisis.

whoalse - agreed. since i am the eldest, i will have to uphold that.

Melisa - wow, i am impressed :) i am sure you can foster a great level of relationship in your family...

eiling lim - we have to make effort to learn it.

MKL - yeah, and to come together in the spirit of togetherness and eat... foster bond.

Dienasty - i certainly will.

kyliemc - couldnt agree more.

TRACE said...

hi zewt!
happy chinese new year.
spent more time with my family & relatives this round. Gotta learn to appreciate them more...=) time flies~
take care

zewt said...

TRACE - yes, time flies. catch it while it's still around... seize the moment.