Lunar New Year

It’s New Year again, the real one just after the stroke of midnight at the end of a Lunar New Year, when the moon’s disappeared to God knows where.

This is when I step out, new clothes on (even to the underwear inside).  When I breath in, New Year morning midnight air all around.  And I step over, crossing the intangible threshold in-between what can be left behind, what can be looked forward to.

The foods we eat signal our hopes as we cross over, the fears we want to leave behind.  My husband’s people set out five fruits – bananas, soursop, coconut, papaya, mango – homonyms for a very humble request for just enough to spend, not daring to ask more from the heavens above. They eat bitter melon – another homonym expressing a hope that bitterness will pass them by! In Singapore, smothered in comfort and efficiency, there’s no starvation, war and death to run from.  We eat prawns, hah-hah to all the blessings we’ll be thankful for.  We eat fish, surplus to pile upon surplus.  We lay out many-segmented oranges and pomelos,  sure our families and generations will multiply until …  We don’t know what it’s like to hope otherwise, my countrymen, myself.

This is how it is … this is where it’s at for most of us on this small red dot.  We live in a land of enough and our eyes are fixed on a more plentiful beyond.  Until I discussed different New Year customs with a friend yesterday afternoon, I didn’t realize what a big deal this is to be thankful for.  To be so ignorant of another scarcer and more painful reality is also something to be thankful for! Are we?

On that note … “Chuc Mung Nam Moi” – Happy Lunar New Year. “Wanshi Ruyi” – may everything happen as you wish! “Xuxu Xin Xi” – much happiness in your heart!

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