A Different Chinese New Year

Source: National Geographic

Chinese New Year is characterised by red, lively music and the reunion of families. Yet on the 2nd of February, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the Movement Control Order had been extended till the 19th of February and that every state except for Sarawak is under MCO. Although it was expected, some begin to wonder what Chinese New Year celebrations will be like for 2021.

Most were hoping that 2021 would be a better year, especially since multiple vaccines have been approved and are being rolled out. Unfortunately mass vaccinations will not happen in Malaysia until later in the first quarter of 2021. This brings a problem, how will CNY celebrations — a holiday that is traditionally celebrated with lots of house visits and eating together at close proximity with dozens of other relatives proceed in a time of social distancing and lockdowns?

Now that we have to celebrate Chinese New Year during the MCO, here are a few suggestions to make CNY celebrations possible while under lockdown.

1. Utilise online meeting platforms like Zoom and Discord

Like most activities carried out in 2020, celebrations can be shifted online. For example eating reunion dinners on Zoom. Set up devices on the dinner table and have reunion dinners like one usually would, but instead everyone will be in different places and you might not be able to taste the delicious food your grandma cooked.

Source: Discoversg.com

House visits can also be substituted with a simple video call now that most social media platforms have the video call application, such as Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook. Make a quick call to the relative or friend you would like to visit and snack on crackers that you’ve bought.

2. E-wallet red packets

One of the concerning issues about celebrating CNY online is the lack of ang pao. The lovely red packet that everyone (or at least people receiving the ang pao) looks forward to receiving. Afterall what is Chinese New Year without the customary auspicious greetings and the excitement of opening the red packets? Worry not, for if technology has pulled through, it will be the invention of E-wallets. One can simply obtain the QR code for the E-wallet account and this will enable others to send money into the E-wallet account. With an array of E-wallet platforms to choose from, like Boost, Grab Pay and Shoppee Pay, what are you waiting for?

3. Watching fireworks online

Fireworks are customary for every CNY celebration. Having visited my grandparents in Johor every year, even if we didn’t light the fireworks, people in the neighbourhood did and we would stay up till 12am to watch them. Unfortunately setting off fireworks might not be possible this year, but you can still experience it online through live streaming of firework shows or rewatching old ones. Hong Kong for example live streamed their NYE firework show, and Tokyo decided to light up the fireworks reserved for the 2020 Olympics which was ultimately cancelled. These can all be found on various social media platforms. This can also extend to watching lion or dragon dances online since mass gatherings are prohibited.

Source: Roamright.com

4. Tossing Yee Sang

Source: lipstiq.com

Tossing Yee Sang (or Yusheng, the prosperity salad) is a must every CNY. During the tossing of Yee Sang, people would shout auspicious phrases such as getting good grades, business will be good and for their family to be healthy. The higher the Yee Sang is tossed, the more auspicious it is seen. The tossing of Yee Sang doesn’t have to be cancelled just because of the MCO. Ready made Yee Sang can be bought online and delivered to your doorstep, grab your family or friends and toss the prosperity salad as high as you can. If you live alone, prop up your phone camera and video call your family or friends, because some things are always better with company.

5. Purchase CNY snacks/food from small vendors

With the Movement Control Order extended, most restaurants will be struggling to survive especially now that patrons are not able to dine in. Although this isn’t technically a solution, do think about purchasing from small food vendors and support them during these arduous times.

That marks the end of some ideas on how to celebrate Chinese New Year during the MCO. How are you planning on celebrating? Remember to stay at home, wear a mask and practice social distancing so we wouldn’t have to spend another Chinese New Year under lockdown.

[Written by: Sarah Chong]

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TLMUN Herald

TLMUN Herald

A not-for-profit publication under the Taylor’s Lakeside Model United Nations Club which focuses on amplifying the voices of the youth of today.