Malaysians have been able to celebrate Chinese New Year normally up until the beginning of 2020 when the global crisis hit us and forced everyone to wear masks, keep a safe distance from each other and stay home at all times.
This year, we’re all celebrating the Lunar New Year very differently. There are many things about celebrating CNY we definitely miss this time around, but there are also things we don’t exactly mind giving up either.
Here are some aspects of Chinese New Year we definitely do NOT miss:
1. “When are you getting married?” & other awkward questions
Every year, you will have to face a flurry of really awkward questions your relatives ask at CNY gatherings and there’s pretty much no way out of it unless you are already married.
“If you’re already married, next thing they will ask is when are you getting babies?” – Lisa, 29
2. Taking that super long drive to your hometown
Every Malaysian will know that feeling of taking a four-hour drive back to their hometowns that can turn into a nine-hour drive. The Chinese New Year exodus is no joke and can drive anyone crazy.
“It’s a nightmare we go through every year. I wish I still stayed with my parents sometimes.” – Gary, 32
3. Chinese New Year shopping is a stressful activity
One unwritten rule of Chinese New Year is that you must dress nicely and in new clothes at gatherings. Everything must be new so you can imagine what it’s like shopping during CNY season.
“Shopping for Chinese New Year is so stressful! Have to go to a mall that’s packed, queue for hours at the counter and sometimes the things you want are out of stock.” – Qiao Yi, 33
4. Chinese New Year songs on loop everywhere you go
There’s a saying that goes “too much of a good thing is not good”. We’re talking about the festive music that plays at every corner of the country and while it may get you in the mood to be festive at first, it can get old pretty fast.
“As much as I love the festive season, the CNY tunes that play incessantly at every shop and mall you go to can get a bit much.” – Joshua, 23
5. Forced to meet relatives that aren’t very nice
Everyone can agree that there is always that one distant relative who can be pretty mean, and when Chinese New Year comes around you have no choice but to visit them because they’re still family.
“I have this one uncle who tells me I’m fat every time I see him but my parents always tell me he’s joking” – Alan, 29
With all that said, there are also things we miss during this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations.
It’s not just all about enduring traffic jams and festive music on loop everywhere you go after all. There’s so much more to it and some of the best things about it are what we miss most this year such as:
1. Meeting our distant family members, cousins and friends
For those of us who live away from our families, we would miss them all year and Chinese New Year is the best time to reunite with all of them in one place.
“I only get to see my parents and hometown friends once or twice a year because of my job. I look forward to seeing them every Chinese New Year but sadly, it’s not possible this year” – Choong, 31
2. Eating delicious home-cooked CNY food
Malaysians will agree that some of the best food you can find in the country are the homecooked meals at a Chinese New Year reunion dinner. They’re usually old family recipes that are always hard to make but totally worth the journey to eat!
“No one cooks a Chinese New Year feast like my aunty! I always look forward to visiting her house on CNY because I’ll get to eat her homemade Poon Choy and Nian Gao which she only makes once a year!” – Tricia, 28
3. Taking a long holiday over the CNY break
We all look forward to long public holidays and Chinese New Year is the perfect time to do it. Unfortunately, we’re all still facing a global crisis so there’s no point in taking a long break.
“I usually take a week off during Chinese New Year and go on a holiday after visiting my parents. But this year, we all have to stay put.” – Ling Kwan, 35
4. Watching Lion Dance performances
This is the only time of year we get to witness the spectacle of a Lion Dance show, be it around our neighbourhood or at malls.
“My kids love to watch the lion dance troupes that go around our neighbourhood every Chinese New Year. Sadly, there aren’t any performances this year.” – Koh, 41
5. Getting ang pow from relatives
Getting ang pow is one of the highlights of celebrating Chinese New Year. It’s an ancient tradition we all love until today!
“My aunty always gives me the biggest ang pow every year. I was a bit sad that I might not get any this year but luckily we have e-angpow!” – Jovian, 19
If you were worried that you won’t be getting any ang pow this year because of SOPs that are in the way, let us remind you that we’re living in 2021.
And one way you can still send or receive these e-angpows is with DuitNow, an online and mobile banking service that enables you to send money instantly and securely!
With DuitNow, you can easily transfer money to friends and family using just their mobile number. That means no more having to ask for bank account details or trying to remember your own!
Not sure how to Duit? Let us show you! First of all, you will need to register:
- Log on to the mobile app or desktop website of your bank (e.g. Maybank, CIMB, Public Bank, etc.)
- Look for DuitNow under ‘settings’ or the ‘profile’ menu
- Perform a one-time registration for DuitNow by linking your ID (e.g. your phone number) with your bank account or e-money accounts
After registering, you’re set to go! All you need to do to start transferring is:
- Log on to your bank account via mobile app or desktop website
- Go to ‘funds transfer’ or ‘send money’ and look for DuitNow
- Enter the recipient’s ID (e.g. phone number) and confirm the transfer details
- Hit transfer and the recipient will receive the money instantly!
That’s how you Duit!
And don’t worry about being left out because DuitNow is available on a majority of banks including:
- Affin Bank
- Bank Of China
- Hong Leong Bank
- Public Bank
- Standard Chartered Bank
Although you might need to teach your parents how to use it, it’ll be a lot more convenient for them in the future. No need to pack individual ang pows anymore! Save time and the environment! And don’t forget to tell them that they can send up to RM5,000 through DuitNow for FREE if they’re feeling extra generous this year.
So don’t be sad okay! We can still celebrate CNY this year albeit slightly differently. Just remember to stay safe and follow the SOPs set for this year’s festivities. For those of you who are living far away from your families, they’re only a Zoom call away and those who live with family, make sure you cherish their company and enjoy all the good home-cooked CNY food! We’re still jelly about that.
Gong Xi Fa Cai, everyone!
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