LAUGHTER is one of the most sought-after things during Chinese New Year.
The Chinese believe that laughter in the new year will bring happiness throughout the year.
For reunion and new year dishes, prawns or “ha” in Cantonese is a must-have, as “ha ha ha” is laughter.
In Mandarin, prawns or “hsia” also rhymes with laughter “ha ha hsiao”.
But to create a happy mood during gatherings is something that needs some thought or conscious effort.
A meal of prawns, can be good tidings, and perhaps raise our cholesterol count, but it certainly will not automatically bring laughter to us.
Besides creating laughter, there are also the “don’ts” to observe during Chinese New Year, like not getting into an argument with people, or else one is bound to end up with many arguments throughout the year.
So, how are we to create laughter and avoid arguments from today onwards until the 15th day of the lunar new year when the topics on politics is expected to dominate many gatherings this time around?
According to many training consultants politics is a topic to avoid during social gatherings as it could trigger arguments.
So, can we just forget about politics for the next 15 days?
The answer is certainly impossible, if not extremely difficult, with speculation that Parliament will be dissolved immediately after Chap Goh Meh to pave the way for the country’s 13th general election.
If that is the case, let’s choose the political angle that can make us have a good laugh then.
For instance, I can’t help but laugh when reading a Chinese paper report quoting PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat saying the Korean mega star Psy must tutup aurat during his performance in Penang on the second day of Chinese New Year.
It looks like Nik Aziz does not know who Psy is, and that this man was catapulted to world fame almost overnight by his “Oppa Gangnam Style” video clip last year.
When the reporter told Nik Aziz that Psy was a man, the latter said his songs must then be suitable for young people.
By then, the spiritual leader appeared to be getting curious over Psy and wanted to find out more from the reporter.
Nik Aziz went on to ask what language would Psy be singing in.
When told that Psy would be singing in Korean, Nik Aziz frowned and questioned why people would want to listen to his songs when they did not even understand the lyrics!
Well, I think Nik Aziz has a point there.
And I think he is being very genuine in his questions and answers, and most of all, he is not politicising the performance, unlike others from both sides of the political divide who are out for some political mileage.
At least Nik Aziz knows that Psy is a man now!
Whatever, the fact remains that many young and the not so young are going gaga over Psy.
People do look forward to seeing him in person.
I would have liked to cover the Barisan Nasional Chinese New Year open house to watch Psy if not for my family reunion dinner commitment on the second day of new year every year.
My colleague Chan Li Leen and I had a good laugh over Nik Aziz’s “encounter with Psy” yesterday.
Li Leen then shared with me the video clips posted on Facebook, including the Prime Minister wearing a red T-shirt and beating the drums.
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak also went on air with his son teaching him simple Mandarin on Chinese New Year greetings.
I heard it several times over 988 radio, and I must say I admire his very well spoken English.
When I brought up Najib’s Mandarin lesson during a dinner with friends last night, I found that it almost triggered an argument between two sisters.
The younger sister’s immediate reaction was that Najib is acting, and the elder sister retorted, saying “at least he tried to win the hearts of the Chinese”.
I was glad that their difference of opinion did not go further than that, and all of us continued to enjoy our food.
People definitely will have their own interpretations of the video clips of politicians this festive season, simply because elections is round the corner.
While politicians cannot run away from politics and their acts are politically motivated, credit must be given to them for being creative in reaching out to the people.
DAP’s Teresa Kok, who is also Selangor executive councillor, has masqueraded as a hairstylist and restaurant captain on her Chinese New Year video clip.
Those who have viewed it, irrespective of fence sitters or their political affiliation, had thought that she had good acting skills.
So, let’s enjoy all the video clips without being judgmental, and laugh over them if we can.
Gong Xi Fa Cai to all our Chinese readers.