Saturday, January 14, 2006
Almost Crushed, Miffed, Still Hopeful
While I was washing the dishes, mom suddenly blurted, "This Chinese New Year's eve, we'll be having our own reunion dinner. Because Grandma's not celebrating her birthday this year." (in chinese)
HUH?!? I was crushed. Almost. "How come??"
To cut the long story short, my grandparents must be taking yet another step towards ultra-legalism in not partaking of traditions & customs deemed as non-christian - that's right, no birthday, no CNY, no family reunion.
My mom, being only the messenger, couldn't answer my insistent queries. I immediately sought my dad out, who seemed nonchalant about it. "Yup, this year not celebrating."
Year after year, our entire extended family (ah kong had 10 children, so go figure) comes together on CNY's eve for a reunion lunch a la steamboat, with red wine (& accompanying teasing about folks who turn red easily) being a recent welcomed addition. I even got a colleague to get me a Malbec on his recent trip and I've been eager to let everyone try it.
Needless to say, CNY eve family reunion's a deeply meaningful Chinese tradition which upholds love & unity in the family. In our case, it manifests itself in the annual family portrait, with smiling faces immortalised - Uncle Patrick always has to do the same mad dash before the timer goes off while his 3 daughters squeal in shrilly excitement.
Seeing my little cousins get bigger year after year is quite a joy for most of us. Then there's the grapevine-updating about who's doing what. The older men comparing waistlines & diets, with wives following up with mock admonishing. The occasional kid falling accidentally, silently scrunching his/her face before the awful cry for attention...
Suggested to dad tt as an alternative, we ask eldest uncle to open up his house. Dad agreed. But it just won't be the same without my grandparents and the usual birthday cake & song routine.
Miffed, I am. But still hopeful.
Else, Bintan beckons. Or KL, Phuket... whatever.
Posted by This is Ed at 9:13 PM