Keeping it simple this year

PETALING JAYA: The “Ox” will arrive to a low-key celebration as many households and companies are cutting costs following the economic fallout due to the pandemic.

“We won’t be having any lavish meals, ” said financial adviser Daniel Lee, 32.

Besides, he said, dining out might also not be available with restaurants and eateries only allowed to do takeaways due to the movement control order.

“We’ll just be keeping it really simple to be on the safe side, ” Lee said, adding that his family would be having a simple reunion meal at home to usher in the Chinese New Year.

Homemaker Catherine Wong said she would be buying less festive items that were traditionally bought in previous years.

“I won’t be buying festive cookies this year since we are unlikely to receive visitors, ” she said.

“The same goes for new year clothes. I won’t be scouting for new clothes as we will not be going out to shopping malls like before.”

She will also be keeping Chinese New Year decorations to a minimum, opting to reuse the trimmings from last year.

Businessman Michael Chong said he had to cut down expenses for his company’s Chinese New Year celebrations by forgoing the annual meal to mark sau gong.

The sau gong meal usually takes place among colleagues and friends right before Chinese New Year to mark the end of a year of working together.

“Usually, we would have the meal before the festivities to celebrate a year of hard work.

“We would normally have it at a halal Chinese restaurant so our Muslim colleagues could join in as well. However, this year we have to cancel the meal because we are trying to stay afloat, ” said Chong.

Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia president Tan Sri Goh Tian Chuan urged the Chinese community to stay at home for the celebrations.

“We can use technologies and the Internet to reach out to each other and celebrate the new year virtually, ” he said.

“The elderly can use e-wallet to give away ang pow and children can also go online to convey their well wishes to them, ” he added.

Selangor Consumer Action Council president Datuk Dr Gavin Voon urged Chinese families to be cautious during the present situation.

“This year is unique. Although we Chinese would still like to celebrate our traditions, we must follow the standard operating procedure.

“With many facing job and income losses, the community must consider managing their finances and think about the long-term impact, ” he said.

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