IT is two thumbs up for this Chinese New Year, literally.
Folks in Penang are getting cute this year with the traditional clasping of fists to wish Gong Xi Fatt Chai.
To mark the Year of the Goat, people are starting to clasp their fists and then stick both thumbs up to emulate the horns of the bleating animal.
“I don’t know how it began, but I saw someone doing it and thought it was quirky fun, so now I’m doing it too,” grinned Tanjung MP Ng Wei Aik.
Ng, who is also this year’s organising chairman for Penangites’ Chinese New Year Celebration, was posing for photographs with clasped fists and stuck out thumbs during a press conference to announce the festivities.
The conference took place on board the luxurious 10-deck Superstar Libra off Swettenham Pier and in seconds, everyone else started greeting each other with ‘horned’ fists.
The two-day public celebration this year will kick off on Feb 28 from 3pm to midnight.
More than 20 Chinese clan houses in the heritage enclave will be open to the public.
The Esplanade, Armenian Street, Cannon Street, Bishop Street, King Street, Church Street, Penang Street and part of Chulia Street will see a host of traditio-nal and cultural performances, dough figurine making and wood carving.
“There will be over 100 street performances and also food stalls,” Ng said.
The celebrations will continue into the following day from 8pm to 10.30pm with cultural per-formances on the Esplanade’s stage and a hawker food fair to boot.
On top of lion dances on stilts, Chinese gymnastics and orchestra performances, there will also be a sign language performance, retro Chinese musical plays from the 60s and fireworks.
Star Cruises is the co-sponsor and its Penang general manager Ku Yuen Mun said a lucky draw featuring cruise packages would be held on Feb 28.
“Just come to our booth near the Esplanade stage to sign up for the draw,” he said.
He added that they would be giving away four sets of four-day-three-night cruises from Phuket to Krabi.
Up for grabs are also three sets of two-day-one-night High Seas cruises on board Superstar Libra.
The public will also be able to buy pink goat paper hats for RM5.
The proceeds of which will go to the Penang Chinese Cultural Fund of the Penang Chinese Clan Council.
The clans council and the state government are the co-organisers and the main sponsor for the event is Eastern and Oriental Berhad.