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Chinese New Year in Singapore « Jocelyn Wong's Blog

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Chinese New Year in Singapore

Happy Year of the Tiger!!

Happy Year of the Tiger!!

For the first time in my life, I got to celebrate Chinese New Year in Asia. Sure it’s a big deal at home as a Chinese-American, but nothing like in Singapore. I remember as a kid we would wake up CNY morning and there would be the red banners with gold Chinese characters hung about the house…we ate big feasts with the family and got hung bao’s (the red envelopes with money inside) and special candy. The house got cleaned up really nice right before Chinese New Year, but never on the first day or first week, otherwise all your good luck gets washed/swept/vacuumed away.

Some parents pulled their kids out of school during Chinese New Year, but my brand of superstar parents would NEVER let us miss school for any reason. It was perfect attendance or bust–ok there was that one year we had the big earthquake in 1989; that was the ONLY time I remember ever missing school, but I digress.

But in America, Chinese New Year never seemed to be a bigger deal than Christmas. It was kind of like Christmas but with Chinese food. Ok, more Chinese food, since we have Chinese food at Christmas too.

So I got to be in Singapore during the CNY madness. Lots of decorations everywhere!  Me and Beck got some photos by the temple next to the Bike Boutique on our first day:

this is the tiger with money

this is the tiger with money

and this is the tiger with...food.  hehe!

and this is the tiger with...food. hehe!

Then I went off to the Philippines and came back for the first day of the Year of the Tiger. My favorite Singaporean couple, Li Ying and Bernard, took me out for a CNY breakfast…

if all the Chinese joints were closed, we were gonna have Indian food for breakfast...

if all the Chinese joints were closed, we were gonna have Indian food for breakfast...

but no, I insisted we must have Chinese for Chinese New Year!

but no, I insisted we must have Chinese for Chinese New Year!

They were actually worried that there would be no place open on the first day of CNY. And it was true…nearly all businesses shut down for the first five days of the new year! I was told that people get Monday through Wednesday off work!

see, they have to advertise they are actually open

see, they have to advertise they are actually open

You are supposed to wear new clothes on Chinese New Year, so I wore the only new thing I had…a dress from when we to the beach in Thailand.

try not to stare at the sexy forehead tanlines from my swim cap!

try not to stare at the sexy forehead tanlines from my swim cap!

It was actually nearly impossible to hail a taxi cab the whole time we were in Singapore…that’s how crazy busy it was due to the holiday. Beck was actually convinced we were going to miss our flight back to training camp because we couldn’t get a cab to the airport!

Anyway, one of my more recent CNY traditions has been to check out what the new year’s horoscope forecasts.  There are Chinese 12 zodiac animals based on your birth year and I’m a Rooster.  You can look up your own on websites like www.tarot.com and www.chinesezodiachoroscope.com. The funny part for me now is that when there are predictions about my “work” and “career” and “boss”–well, that would be about triathlon and the Coach!

Here are some predictions for a Rooster girl like me:

“Work could be a source of strain for you during the Chinese Year of the Tiger. You may be forced to adapt to new procedures and schedules that don’t suit you. Unfortunately, your boss won’t be responsive to your complaints. If you keep harping about the new routine, you could find yourself on the unemployment line. In this economy, it’s best to keep your head down and your mouth shut.”

Translation: no complaining to Coach about the workouts or new swim technique ;)

“Work will be more demanding than usual, forcing you to assume new duties that may feel distasteful. …If you play your cards right, you’ll get both a raise and a promotion by the end of 2010.”

Translation: even more demanding training….but also…more prize money???!!! :D

“Love can flourish for Roosters in the Chinese Year of the Tiger. However, you need to cultivate a little tact if a new relationship is going to get off the ground. Compromise is essential in the Year of the Tiger. If you learn to keep your mouth shut whenever a love interest annoys you, a strong alliance will ensue. You’ll even start to think of your partner’s quirks as charming, rather than irritating. It’s just a matter of diverting your thoughts whenever they become critical.”

Keep my mouth shut whenever a love interest annoys me? Sh*t, no wonder I’m still single.

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone in the world!  :)

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