Keeping reunions simple and safe by dining at home

JOHOREANS are scaling down their spending in welcoming the Year of the Tiger as the Covid-19 pandemic still looms overhead.

Gladys Tay, 40, said pre-Covid-19 days, her family would spend between RM2,000 and RM3,000 on new clothes, biscuits and ang pow.

“This year’s lunar new year celebration is going to be a simple affair, similar to last year’s as we are cutting the budget by half,” said the mother of three.

Tay from Taman Impian Emas in Johor Baru said the family did not hold a reunion dinner last year due to movement control order restrictions.

While there would be a reunion dinner this year, she said it would be confined to a group of 10 people comprising immediate family members.

“We are not taking any chances as there are small children, and the Omicron variant is traceable in Johor,” said Tay.

She said had it not been for Covid-19, the family would spend three days celebrating Chinese New Year at her husband’s family home in Putra Heights, Selangor.

Housewife Linda Seow said there would be no new clothes for the family as they had nowhere to go this Chinese New Year.

“We will not be visiting our relatives or friends as we are not taking any risks because of the pandemic,” she said.

The 49-year-old mother of three children said pre-Covid-19 days, the family would spend about RM3,000 on new clothes, food and ang pow.

“There will be another RM1,000 for our travelling expenses returning to my husband’s family home in Shah Alam, Selangor for the new year,’’ said Seow who is from Taman Molek, Johor Baru.

She said the family had no plans to go to Shah Alam this Chinese New Year as they had gone back in December for Christmas.

“Times are still bad and the economy has yet to fully recover.

“I hope it will get better by 2023,” said Seow.

Businessman Poh Pai Yik, 51, said if not for the pandemic, his family would hold their reunion dinner at a restaurant.

He said bookings were usually made a month in advance and an eight-course reunion meal for 20 people would cost RM600.

“But restaurants in Johor Baru have increased their prices for reunion dinners,” said Poh, adding that his family would have their reunion dinner at his house in Taman Johor Jaya instead.

Poh said prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, he would fork out RM5,000 as expenses for Chinese New Year.

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