How To Survive Chinese New Year


We are less than a week away from Chinese New Year and you may be in the midst of cleaning up your house or have already shopped for new clothes, but you are never truly ready unless you have read this guide on surviving Chinese New Year! 

1. Enjoy it
Surviving Chinese New Year would be a lot easier if you actually enjoy it. Time flies when you’re having fun, and before you know it, the holiday would be over. Go ahead - pop a few beers (or orange juice if you’re still underage), toast your relatives and wish them gong/ goat xi fa cai! (Hahhaha, aren't you amused by all the bad CNY puns we have this year?)

2. Embrace the superstitions or the ‘rules’
It would be great if you could wear red, or something vibrant and colourful actually. But if you insist on wearing dull colours, definitely expect your relatives to give you judgmental glares. But wait, how does red undergarments sound? You can wear red undergarments underneath all the drapey black layers! If any of them approach you and asks, “aiyo, why you wear black?” And you can say, “black is fashionable but I’m traditional at heart.” And then you promptly flash them a glimpse of that red bra strap on your left shoulder! That should shut them up right? Besides, it could probably improve your luck for the gambling sessions. HUAT AH!

3. Stock up on caffeine
It’s probably the only time of the year where your parents would allow you to play mahjong into the wee hours of the night with your cousins, so remember to keep some coffee at arm’s reach! Be it canned, powdered or otherwise, you need it to stay quick and alert so you can finally win some money from your annoying relatives. Consequently, get some dark eye circles cream too and may the odds be ever in your favour.

4. Giving them a taste of their own medicine
If you’re not married or do not have a boyfriend yet, chances (approximately 99.9%) are, you’ll be up against the inevitable annual interrogation. You got boyfriend already or not? When’s your turn to get married? You know, my neighbour’s son around your age leh! And no, your relatives would not let you go with just a polite smile and nod, faking a throat condition might not even work! We all know that there’s no running from all the questions so the best solution? Bombard them with questions too! Why, Aunt? You don’t want to give me angbao anymore is it? Oh your son is 28 this year, why not married yet? It’s worth a try, maybe next year they won’t ask you anything. 

5. Stuff yourself silly without looking like you actually did
Strategic placement is key, make sure targets (bak kwa, pineapple tarts and/or prawn rolls) are within arm’s reach then dive right in when no one is looking! And while everyone is busy cooing over your newborn baby nephew, this is your perfect opportunity to grab the entire tub of pineapple tarts! Remember to keep yourself out of sight before you start on your mini feast. Oh, make sure you don’t weigh yourself for the next two weeks. 

6. Resist temptation
We know you can’t wait to tear open those red packets and gather the crisp notes before throwing them up in the air, screaming “MONEYYYYYY!!!!” Resist all temptation until you’re back into the privacy of your own home. After all the visiting, remember to thank your hosts and say goodbye to relatives you only see once a year. We understand that you’re beyond delighted to leave (gosh, finally!), but don’t show that joy on your face! At the end of a long day, you deserve to tear through the stash of angbaos that you’ve collected! Godspeed, my friend.

This article was first published in Catch Magazine 2013

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