PHOTO: UNSPLASH/BADY ABBAS
The Lunar New Year is here, and you just know we’re excited to get our fresh ang baos (sorry, married folks) served with a side of interrogation from our relatives.
In these few select days where seeing red actually means huat ah, despite the stock market telling you otherwise, we’re bound to see plenty of trends that you may have taken for granted in past renditions. Some can be pretty annoying, so before you start lo hei-ing and spilling 75% of the yu sheng in the process, let us mentally prepare you for the extravaganza that is the Lunar New Year season.
Alexa, play my CNY mix
The Lunar New Year is the only festival where timeless bangers such as “Cai Shen Dao”, “He Xin Nian” and “Gong Xi Gong Xi” are given their time to shine. And boy are they given plenty of time - the soundtrack to your life might as well be replaced with gongs.
During CNY season, there will be an assault on the ears whether it’s at your grandma’s house or your neighbourhood NTUC. Be prepared and use those earbuds (or ear plugs).
It almost makes me want to shout “diam lah!” at times, but I can’t because my mom scolded me before, saying CNY period cannot be rude.
Calorie warnings everywhere
One thing you should look forward to every CNY is feasting on those prawn rolls and love letters like there’s no tomorrow. Shiok ah. It all seems like a glutton’s dream come true... until you come across that infographic on Facebook. You know what I’m talking about - the yearly calorie warnings on all your favourite CNY snacks.
Usually posted by your well-meaning boomer relative, these warnings only serve one purpose - making you come to grips with having to do 25 minutes’ worth of jumping jacks just to burn off two pineapple tarts. Not so shiok after all.
Surcharges… on haircuts?
It seems that the Lunar New Year season brings out the inner businessman of many a barber and stylist nationwide, as everyone chiongs to get their hair cut before CNY begins (for those who don’t know, cutting your hair during CNY is seen as taboo).
At least two weeks before the start of CNY, expect a costly surcharge slapped onto the price of your haircut at most places. Chor sia.
Let this be a warning - don’t procrastinate when it comes to cutting your hair.
The Prosperity Burger
Let’s be honest. The real CNY signature dish isn’t steamboat. It isn’t nian gao. It isn’t bak kwa.
It’s McDonald’s very own Prosperity Burger.
Just like how the Red Lions show up every National Day, you can always count on the Prosperity Burger making a grand appearance every Chinese New Year season. I’d like to think of its entrance as CNY’s Bat-signal - once it appears, you just know CNY is coming right up.
That juicy beef patty with rich black pepper sauce slathered on top - does that not scream jin ho jiak? The burger itself may not have anything to do with the Lunar New Year, but does it spread the joy of CNY season like no other? You bet!
A day… for depositing money?
If you were to pick a single date to deposit your money in February, please siam far far away from 4 Feb 2023.
This is the date of 2023’s Li Chun (立春), a supposedly auspicious day to deposit cash into your bank account.
Traditionally, Li Chun is celebrated in China to mark the start of Spring and a prosperous year ahead for farmers. Strangely enough, the custom of depositing money is unique to Singapore and only recently introduced. Maybe a fengshui master decided that the act of depositing was akin to farming? Who knows.
In Singapore, long queues usually last the whole day, as there are specific timings already chope’d for each zodiac as the most auspicious to deposit money as well! Talk about organisation and efficiency.
Final tip: Prepare yourself for a fully buzzing Li Chun, now that COVID restrictions are all but over.