Saturday, February 03, 2007

Time Of The Year Again - 3 Feb 2007

It the time of the year again when words like spring cleaning, mandarin orange, lunar calendar, chor yat/chui it/chu yi, blackjack/barn lart, and visiting make a frequent presence among the Chinese community in days leading up to the CNY celebration. Not to mention other more favourable words like ang pows, fire crackers, new clothes, and red red red/hong hong hong/ang ang ang among children alike.'s the season again for us to renew our bonds and ties with friends and family members to usher in the lunar year of the PIG! *oink* *oink*

As for me, the lunar year somehow fails to bring the big significance in my life especially now that I'll be away from my own family members to usher in the first day of the lunar calendar. To those who know me well enough understands my statement. To those who dont, well I've been celebrating the first day of the lunar calendar in the ever-quiet town of Kuala Terengganu - the land of birth of my beloved husband. CNY celebration there is somehow much different from the celebration in the city. No such thing as loud thundering sounds of the firecrackers (tho they are banned nationwide) at the strike of midnight in this Malay-populated state as compared to the environment in the city where children and adults would be busy enjoying themselves ushering the 1st day of the lunar calendar when the clock ticks at 12! Somehow, it's just different!

It was in 2005 when I was heavily pregnant and was not advisable to travel by air that I managed to realise what I've been taking granted for before I got married. It was somehow a different feeling at that time when I know that I'll be seeing my parents on the 1st day of CNY. It was somehow a happier feeling and a realisation that that is the feeling I missed most and took for granted for all these years. It was as if it's the place/event/answer to the missing piece of puzzle which I've been trying to locate to complete my CNY picture in my mind. The feeling of seeing my beloved parents and siblings on the first day of CNY and knowing that they too enjoyed having me around. Yes, some might say that there are 15 days to celebrate the CNY but it's just not the same when you are able to have your close family members around you on the very first day itself. It is somehow a warmer feeling to have them around and to be around them on the first day itself rather than the other subsequent days leading to the 15th day. This is the feeling which I've been missing and has been trapped inside me since 2004 when I first celebrated the Lunar New Year away from home and family members - yeah, to be with my new family in Terengganu, which I'm still trying hard to blend in and accept it as a fact, now that I'm married and moreover, to someone whose hometown is so far away that it's impossible to have both sides of our families around on the first day of CNY.

Actually whenever I think about this, I just get agitated to accept this norm that "You must celebrate the CNY with your husband's family after you are married". I mean, is this a written rule or something? Isnt the wife a daughter to her parents anymore after she's married? Cant she be with them for the reunion dinner with her husband around as an added family member? Why must it be a practice that a woman must be at her husband's side of family during the CNY celebration, especially for reunion dinner and on the 1st day of the celebration? Why cant it be compromised and accepted in the culture that it's bloody OK to have an agreement to celebrate the first few days of CNY alternately each year. One year with the husband side and one year with the wife's side. I'm still surprised that this is just not acceptable till today. One would be chastised and condemned should he/she brought up this subject, let alone practice it. It's just a taboo to even try bringing up the subject. It's even harder when one has parents-in-law who are still alive and expect their sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren to be around whenever the occasion takes place each year. And it doesnt help much when their sons also perceive this as a norm and continue the practice generation after generation after generation......God knows when this will end....

Sigh...sigh...sigh... I guess the only people who would understand what I've said so far are those who are married....especially to men who are not from their own/same hometown. And also those who still have living parents-in-law who practise strict Chinese traditions and culture.
Sigh...sigh...sigh...sigh... What am I to do with this disturbing feeling each time the Lunar Year approaches but to accept the fate with a more open mind and enjoy it as much as possible with the fact that I'll be celebrating it with my beloved husband and son, whom I adore madly. They are the only consolation for me for the new year whenever I think back and realise that I wont be around daddy, mommy, Jean and Bryan when the first day befalls. Nonetheless, I will still be enjoying myself with the thought that I'll be seeing them when I return on the 2nd day of the new year!

GONG XI GONG XI.....ta chia far ta chai!!!!!

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