Many not willing to take risks with older relatives around


Exercising restraint: Pictured here during a previous Chinese New Year celebration, Koh (seventh from left) says she will limit her visits to close family members this year due to public health concerns.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian families are opting to scale down their Chinese New Year celebrations in light of the rampant spread of Covid-19 in the country.

This year’s festivities will be simple affairs as they choose to limit social visits, avoid large gatherings and get take-aways for the all-important reunion dinner.

Christine Koh, 37, from Melaka, said unlike previous years, she would limit her visits to close family members.

“Virtual visits are not workable for the older generation, so I may consider delivering gifts or hampers as an alternative, ” said the mother of three.

Koh, who is the vice-president of her primary school alumni, said she and her committee were planning

a virtual get-together with online interactive games this year.

“Although we have to minimise physical contact with our loved ones and associates, it doesn’t mean we cannot cherish each other’s presence this festive season, ” she added.

Businessman Chong Ming Huei, 40, who has been in Singapore before the movement control order began last March, has decided not to return for the festive celebration.

“I have been video-calling my mom and dad back home every day since I came here. So, on the first day of Chinese New Year, I will do the same before meeting up with my cousins here, ” he said.

As for his parents in Melaka, Chong said it will be a closed-door Chinese New Year celebration as they have made it a point to inform relatives, friends and associates to refrain from visiting.

“My parents are in their 70s and not taking any chances, ” he added.

Michelle Tan, 28, said she and her family would not be returning to Penang for the occasion.

“We do not want to be carrying the virus back to our elderly relatives in Penang. They are in their 80s, so it isn’t wise to do so.

“But we will still have a reunion dinner with our close family members in Kuala Lumpur.

“I will be at home playing games with my family. It’s best to stay safe now with the hospital capacity under pressure, ” said the executive.

Consultant Lee YS, 56, said he will be opting for takeaway food from restaurants for his reunion dinner.

“We will only have close family members dining at home, especially since my mother is elderly and at high risk.

“We will most likely not invite other relatives. We don’t mind if a few people drop by but for us to go visiting with my mother, I think it’s better not to do that, ” he said.

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