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1/29/2006

chinese new year: a tradition, a culture, a way of life

happy chinese new year. this phrase will punctuate all conversations for the next few weeks. it is a time to offer your blessings and best wishes to family members, friends and acquaintances and all. happy chinese new year. it is just a wish, a sharing of good will. have a good time, bon voyage, good luck. etc. chinese new year is a time for such trivials. but there are other things as well. family reunion, giving children a little hongbao for luck, for a good year, for growing up. everything is spruced up for a bright and good start for another year. a time to take stock and to prepare to live life again. why are the young people lamenting that chinese new year does not mean that much to them anymore? time changes thing. we grow older. our little childish enthusiasm of a time of plenty during the new year, seeing many happy faces, rousing gatherings, money to collect and spend, goodies around have all been left behind. we grow up. the young men and women are in a transitional phase. they have so many things to occupy their time and attention. chinese new year is just another event that competes for their time. they have time to go to parties and enjoy party gossips chatting on anything and everything meaningless and say they have a good time. but doing the same things among family and relatives are...yak, boring and distasteful. lifestyle has changed. the older folks who have less things to do, may treasure the chinese new year as a time to see how the seeds they have planted have grown, and planting new seeds. it is a time for reflection, a time for satisfaction or a little disappointment. but if all things are not measured in material things, the oldies will find a lot of comfort in the new generations and their new future. not everything in the chinese new year tradition will be treasured or valued, or retained with the passing of time, and lifestyle changes. but some little things will remain forever. some traditions will be kept and some will lose their fascinations. i have earlier written about the hongbao being too expensive for many. and about hongbao becoming jinbao. expensive wedding dinners will, i think, lose its attractiveness when it will burn a hole in the guests' pockets. sending an invitation to a friend and knowing the pressure he will face to dig deeply into his pocket will eventually make inviting people to a wedding dinner too demanding a friendly gesture. a time will come when the party handing out the invitation cards will be told to get lost. and it will be a good thing if wedding dinners are reserved as a family affair and among very close friends. the chinese new year will go on to be celebrated but differently. maybe it will be commercialised and make to be cool one day.

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