DO you have a boyfriend? When do you plan to get married? Have you gained weight? Are you still working at the same place? How is your company doing?
While catching up with distant relatives and friends can be fun during Chinese New Year, answering all these questions can also leave you tongue-tied and flustered at times.
I find I have to deal with all thesse personal and uncomfortable questions during the festive season.
But don’t get me wrong. I still love to meet up with my family members, relatives and friends as this will be a good time to spare for some friendly gossip and catch-up.
I just love sharing stories and making small talk with them during my short holiday break in my hometown Ipoh.
After our secondary school days, most of my childhood friends left for cities like Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Singapore to continue their tertiary education and pursue their career right after that.
The only time we have for each other is during Chinese New Year, when we could talk on almost everything under the sun with loud outbursts of laughter, especially when we recounted the embarrassing childhood memories.
I always believe in the human touch as I prefer talking to people face-to-face.
This provides a feel of friendliness and gives me a chance to build camaraderie.
It’s also a time when smartphones will make way for playing cards as gambling is socially accepted as entertainment during Chinese New Year.
All of us would be seated in a circle on the floor to play a friendly game of cards.
Chinese New Year is also a time when I get to indulge in good home-made cookies and home-cooked food from my mum.
She is very talented in baking cookies but she bakes them only once a year as it is a laborious and time-consuming task.
Not to forget her home -cooked food for the reunion dinner which is not just a feast but also an event to cherish and remember.
As they say, the Chinese New Year Eve’s meal is the most important dinner of the year.
As we age, we come to realise many of our days and years are behind us.
We all have commitments in life and it’s difficult to meet one another as often as we used to during our younger days.
Lunar New Year is all about bonding and reflection.
Make good use of the festive period to spread warmth and love, just like what the television commercials have always been promoting over the years.
Wishing all our readers Keong Hee Huat Chai!
And allow me to do the prosperity wishes Penang style with “Heng ah! Ong ah! and Huat ah!” (meaning fortune, luck and wealth in Hokkien)