Chinese New Year, the millennial way


Store assistant Jin Yu Qian, 20, (right) showing customers soft toys to usher in the Year of the Pig at her shop in Prangin Mall.

MILLENNIALS, commonly known as Generation Y or Gen Y, are moulding the Chinese New Year festive celebration to fit their likes and preferences.

Marketing executive Adeline Liew, 24, said the older generation now seems to be more lenient when it comes to observing cultural practices during the New Year.

“I generally find the older folk more accommodating of their young ones, especially in terms of cultural practices and social etiquette.

“Those days, it had to always be red for Chinese New Year attire.

“But nowadays, I can wear anything with just hints of bright hues and it is all good,” she said when asked about upcoming preparations to welcome the Year of the Pig.

Housewife Elaine Cheng, 29, said in the past, children were required to greet everyone in the family when visiting (pai nian) a relative’s place, but now it seemed alright to just greet those they meet in the living room.

“Last time, it was a must for everyone in the family to dine together over reunion meals, but now we can have our meals as and when we like,” she said.

“These gatherings are more relaxed now, as we do not have to follow strict etiquettes. The main thing is to have fun,” she added.

Nathalie Chow (left) and Tham showing the cheongsam designs available at their shop at Prangin Mall.
Nathalie Chow (left) and Tham showing the cheongsam designs available at their shop at Prangin Mall.  

Chef Brendan Lim, 56, said Chinese New Year is getting more modernised, which is not necessarily a good thing.

“There are reasons that our ancestors have passed down these cultural etiquettes so I think we should follow them the best we can.

“Many in the family are constantly glued to their phones, so Chinese New Year get-togethers are fast becoming pointless to organise,” he said.

“I remember when everyone used to sit around circles to play games or just gossip but now everyone is too busy with their mobile gadgets and devices,” he added.

Insurance agent Pang Siew Joo, 49, said more and more families are looking past gatherings now.

“It used to be family dinners and gatherings last time, but now the younger ones prefer to spend the celebration abroad, making it hard for everyone to meet.

“We must keep alive the tradition of meeting up with family and relatives, especially during the New Year,” she said.

This year, it is learnt that many millennials are going for the short hair look to sport a swift and trendy look.

College student Tan Zhing Yee, 20, said many of her friends are now sporting hair up to shoulder length.

Lim Jia Xin, 19, (left) and Tan Zhing Yee, 20, showing the Peppa Pig soft toys for sale at Prangin Mall.
Lim Jia Xin, 19, (left) and Tan Zhing Yee, 20, showing the Peppa Pig soft toys for sale at Prangin Mall.

“It is an interesting style as it is easy to maintain and you can find many videos showing the do-it-yourself style for this look,” she said.

“It is also a popular trend now in Korean dramas, where actresses sport this look,” she said.

As for the attire, Yu Yar Fashion store assistant Nathalie Chow, 27, said many youngsters were buying custom-made cheongsams as opposed to traditional ones.

“The younger generation tend to go for the sexier look, where the cheongsam is usually sleeveless, laced and made of satin material.

“It is popular among Chinese tourists here too, because sleeveless cheongsams can only be found in Malaysia,” she said.

“Most of the younger customers prefer this look as it feels trendy, compared to traditional ones that are made of velvet material,” she added.

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