Families planning virtual meet-up

PETALING JAYA: The “show” must go on with new norms headlining. In this case, the Chinese New Year reunion dinner with strict adherence to the SOP.

While some were fortunate enough to live near their relatives, there are those who will have to make do with fewer family members in attendance.

For 47-year-old executive Tan Bee Pheng, several dishes will be prepared for the family dinner, which will then be followed by a video call with her sister who lives in Johor.

“They will have their own reunion dinner and we will have our own, ” said Tan who lives in Kota Kemuning, Selangor.

Tan remained optimistic despite having to mark the reunion virtually, saying that it is a necessary sacrifice against the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I won’t feel frustrated. We can still look forward to other festivals, and of course once the virus is under control, we will be able to meet up.”

Having meals virtually has been the new norm for some ever since the pandemic swept through the globe, infecting millions.

Executive Wee Chong Wei said the reunion dinner will be held at his mother’s house, which is just two minutes away from his place.

“My aunt’s family and my grandmother live opposite my mum’s house as well, ” said Wee, 28, who considers himself lucky.

His wife, marketing executive Stephanie Fong, 27, explained that preparations for this year’s reunion dinner was a bit different, as cooking ingredients were purchased online for the first time.

“I even bought seafood online. Usually, I will go to the market.”

The reunion dinner which Wee and Fong will attend will be potluck-themed.

“One family, one dish, ” Fong said.

Restaurant manager Alex Lan, 30, said he will be having the reunion dinner on camera with his parents who live in Singapore.

He said he will order them traditional dishes from a food delivery app.

A Zoom conference over dinner will take place then.

“At least I don’t have to go through the dreaded travelling this year, ” quipped Lan.

In GEORGE TOWN, reunion dinners will be held on a smaller scale but are no less meaningful.

“This year’s dinner will be a lot smaller than before, but it still means a lot to us. It’s just my mother, my wife and our three children, ” Leong Kok Fai, 46, who works in the research field.

Their relatives, he said, were living in other states.

“Health is more important than to go all out and celebrate in a grand manner. I hope the pandemic will be over soon, ” he said.

Labourer Tan Kim Hong, 40, said this year’s celebration would be a muted affair.

“Our family will eat together like every New Year’s Eve. That’s all. We have told our relatives not to come over for the reunion dinner or visit us during the festive season.

“We have to follow what the government says in order to contain Covid-19, ” he said.

For retiree Phoong Chew Yen, 64, she felt sad that her relatives in Pahang could not visit her.

“Reunion dinner is an important occasion for us (Chinese), but because of the pandemic, it will not be as merry as before, ” she said.

Fish trader Chan Kok Seng, 43, said he expected more people to come out and buy fresh seafood at the very last minute today.

He, however, observed that many people preferred to buy online.

Penang Traffic and Public Order Department chief Supt Zafri Zolkapli said the traffic flow in the state was under control.

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Chinese New Year , reunion dinner , SOP , MCO


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