Families plan to have a low-key celebration

PETALING JAYA: While the upcoming Chinese New Year may be the most important event of the year for Chinese families, most are willing to put public health ahead of tradition this round.

Some Chinese families have resolved to have a smaller reunion dinner on Feb 11, the eve of Chinese New Year, while others are skipping going back to their hometown altogether.

This resolve came following the announcement by Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah that it is likely to take four to five weeks before the Covid-19 transmission curve can be sufficiently flattened in the country.

Dr Noor Hisham said daily cases could be reduced to below 1,000 and 500 if the movement control order was implemented for four weeks.

This has led Marcus Tan to believe that the government will not allow interstate travel leading up to the Chinese New Year holidays, adding that he has decided not to return to his hometown in Penang.

“Reunion dinner this year may have to be postponed given that we have to play our part in curbing the surge of the virus.

“It is the responsible thing to do as we want to keep our family safe. It is crucial that all of us do our part as citizens and fellow Malaysians.

“Our celebration will be very much a low-key affair, probably we will do online ang pow and Zoom family gatherings this year. It is better to be safe than sorry, ” the 28-year-old engineer said.

Tan, who currently works in Kuala Lumpur, said Chinese New Year does not need to be celebrated on the day itself as the new month lasts for 15 days, while a grand dinner can be held at a much later date.

Jennifer Soo, 40, who is based in Kuala Lumpur, will not return to her hometown in Kluang, Johor, and will be having a reunion dinner with only her sister and mother.

“Reunion dinners are really just a get together and bonding time with close family members. It is not necessary to have a huge reunion dinner if people are losing their jobs because of the pandemic. It is better to suffer now, and enjoy much later, ” said Soo, who is an accountant.

“For our family, we have planned that we will have food delivered and my sister will cook a few dishes. That is how we are going to celebrate it.”

Astrid Lye, 38, said it will be a lonely reunion dinner if she is not allowed to head back to her hometown in Melaka.

She plans to go back if the interstate travel ban is lifted.

“If I do get to go back, it will just be my mother and me for our reunion dinner as my brother is working overseas, ” she said.

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