Senior folk say CNY will be different but it is for everyone’s good

Making do: Residents at a nursing home in Bayan Lepas, Penang, looking at festive goodies as they contemplate celebrating Chinese New Year with each other and the staff instead of with their family members.

GEORGE TOWN: Although there will be no reunion dinner with his children this Chinese New Year, retired teacher Yean Lai Haw, 66, understands that the bigger picture is to win the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This will be the first time my four children will not be home for the Chinese New Year.

“They used to return with my grandchildren for the reunion dinner every year, without fail.

“Due to the pandemic, it will just be me and my wife celebrating at home this year.

“We have prepared some dishes for the reunion dinner but my children will have to abide by the travel ban set by the government. It’s for everyone’s own good.

“We will have a video call during our reunion dinner instead, ” he said yesterday.

Yean added that they had not put up any decorations in their home as his children would usually attend to these when they came home.

Another retired civil servant, who wished to be known only as Christina, said her children and grandchildren will not be returning home this year due to the interstate travel ban.

“Chinese New Year is an important occasion and my children, who are working in Kuala Lumpur, used to make it a point to come back and celebrate with me.

“I understand that we need to sacrifice a bit to flatten the curve of the infection, ” said the septuagenarian, who lives alone.

A 57-year-old tutor, who wished to be known as Angie, said the last time she saw her two children was at Christmas last year.

“This is going to be the first time in 27 years that they won’t be home for Chinese New Year.

“I had more or less expected this as there were no celebrations for Hari Raya and Deepavali, ” she said.

Meanwhile, nursing home co-founder Tan Soo Siang, 33, said the residents at her facility will be celebrating Chinese New Year with the staff.

“Our staff members are mainly Sabahans and Sarawakians who also cannot go home for the festive season. They bought cheongsam to wear on the first day of Chinese New Year and we will all enjoy a hotpot meal together.

“Most of our residents’ family members have agreed not to take their parents home for the reunion dinner.

“This year will be special as they will be celebrating the festival with us, ” she said.

There are currently 16 residents at the home, with the oldest being a 93-year-old woman.

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Chinese New Year , old folks , lonely , reunion dinner , MCO , SOP


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