How to use improv to survive Chinese New Year reunion

Hi folks, I’m flying home for the Chinese New Year holidays today!  So I thought I would leave you with a Chinese New Year-related post.

You might know from my Facebook post that I’ve been taking improv classes with The Improv Company (Facebook). I want to share my improv love with tips on how you can use improv to survive Chinese New Year. (I don’t mean hiding in your room watching improv all day on Youtube.)

Some of you might know about improv from Whose Line is it Anyway . While improv is very fun and entertaining, did you know that you could apply improv skills in real life? This branch of improv is called applied improv and is useful for the workplace and life in general.

Continue reading “How to use improv to survive Chinese New Year reunion”

How Malaysians celebrate Chinese New Year

I’m back in Malaysia for Chinese New Year. Here’s a post from last year about how I spend my CNY. Gong Xi Fa Cai.

YQtravelling

Chinese New Year lantern

Today is Chinese New Year eve, the second most important day of Chinese New Year (CNY).

CNY eve dinner is an important time for family to gather together, eat good food and be nagged by elders. [Note to YQ: Do not be a patronizing aunt when you grow up.]

Enough bitterness, I want to share a two-part series of collaborative posts to mark CNY.

Early this week, I asked on Facebook for information on how different people celebrate Chinese New Year in different countries. For the feature, I was planning to have many Chinese folks in different countries to talk about their traditions.

Unfortunately, not many random strangers on the internet took up the challenge. I guess this might also be a good thing since it makes the post more cosy.

How Malaysians overseas celebrate CNY

First up is Max Yam from maxayam.blogspot.sg. Max is a fellow Sabahan who…

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Glutton at Chinese New Year

Yee Shang, yusheng

Happy Chinese New Year! Yes, CNY does not end until the 15th day.

This week’s FoodFriday features a special Chinese New Year edition of the Glutton Series.

For this banquet, we’ll have home cooked meals prepared for reunion dinners and a special “lou sang” dish that involved violent chopstick movements.

First course is the CNY eve reunion dinner at my aunt’s place. Every year on Chinese New Year eve, the extended family gathers for a meal.

This year, the table was overflowing with food (as usual) because many brought multiple dishes. I think my family brought the least as we only had my mom’s famous salted duck and a plate of salted vegetable.

Chinese New Year eve reunion dinner

Not included in the photo is two types of soups (one without chicken as my dad is allergic to chicken) and steamed fish.

Because the main dining table had limited space, I was assigned to the children’s table. The “youngest” person at the children’s table will be 19 years old this year.

Auntie’s place for lunch

  The next day, we were invited to a friend of mom’s place for a lunch gathering. The auntie (a title we use to call an elder woman) is a great cook and she made an amazing lunch.

Chinese New Year food

We had dumplings (a traditional Chinese New Year food). There was roast duck and roast pork which can be found in many Malaysian Chinese outlets.

The fish eggs dish is interesting. The auntie mixed fish eggs with chicken eggs and pan fried it in a rectangular skillet. The tiny fish eggs are snugly wrapped in a coat of eggs. Yummy.

Soup was winter melon soup with meatballs.

We ate all this accompanied with rice. My stomach was stretched almost to the maximum.

Last course: Yusheng

It’s quite alright for adults to have food war during Chinese New Year. The photo below shows Yusheng.

It’s a medley of food, put into a large plate while the server reads incantations (not really, just “auspicious wishes” ). The eaters then violently toss the ingredients with chopsticks.

Yusheng

I’ve never had this dish when I was in Sabah. It was until I began work that I am invited to Chinese New Year luncheons and I participate in the violent act.

After mixing, the dish is sourish with shred of turnip being the main taste.

What’s your favorite Chinese New Year dish? Share it in the comment section below.

Related Chinese New Year links :

How Singaporeans celebrate Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year in Singapore's Chinatown

It’s Chinese New Year today! 恭喜发财!(Congratulations on earning loads of money!)

We’re back on Day 2 of our Chinese New Years in Different Countries series.

For today, two Singaporeans will share their take on how people in the country celebrate Chinese New Year.

Leaving the country during CNY

First up is Therese from The Nomad Damsel.

A cursory flip of the local newspapers during the month of January reveal that some Singaporeans do start planning for their Chinese New Year trips shortly after the New Year, and local travel agencies are milking it as much as they can. These travel agencies and their counterparts in other countries will come up with 4-day trips to China/Hong Kong/Taiwan for ‘the authentic Lunar New Year feel’ and even a 4-day getaway to 8 different cities in Europe. 4 days in 8 cities – I saw this advertisement on the 2nd floor of the People’s Park Complex in Chinatown. I wonder if it is humanely possible to see anything but greenery while travelling to so many places.

A study by Mercer in 2011 shows that Singaporeans have one of the lowest number of annual holidays in the world – we beat some countries in Asia when it comes to annual holidays, but we have half the number of holidays compared to the Europeans. So it is no surprise that Singaporeans tend to combine the use of their precious annual leave and state holidays so they are able to spend more time in the host country. Chinese New Year is a prime travelling period as everyone gets two days off work regardless of their ethnicity group. One aunt told me, “If I am to spend money either by travelling or by giving red packets to kids, I would choose to travel. I would prefer to spend money on something I like to do better.”

Of course, there are many Singaporeans who do enjoy spending time with members of their extended family during this festive period, but this is becoming a rare situation as parents might prefer to spend as much of their leisure time with their family instead of the former group of people.

Staying in the country during CNY

Next up is Phebe from thetravellingsquid. She also has an interesting post on 10 Reasons Not To Travel During Chinese New Year.

I always love Chinese New Year because I don’t have to go to work and school. I’m not a big fan of visiting relatives as I am an innately shy person, so finding topics to make small talk can be quite a challenge. Nonetheless, I have some relatives who like to debate on government policies. They fall under a different class in society compared to my family, and it is always nice to listen to their point of view of things.

The relatives on my mother side are not as well-off, but they have always welcomed us to their four room/ three room homes with open arms. It may be a little congested and uncomfortable sitting on tiny, foldable chairs squeezing in front of the TV, while trying to balance a plastic plate filled with food on one hand, and a can of soft drink on a coffee table which is almost filled with pineapple tarts and jars of tiny crispy prawn rolls.

What I like best about Chinese New Year is to watch these afternoon matinée at my relative’s house comprising dated Chinese love/ CNY movies. Stuff like Stephen Chow movies or Infernal Affairs allow me to pass time and relax, without worrying that I should be spending my holiday on more useful things. I also like to indulge in bak kwa [Note from YQ: dried barbequed meat. yum yum.]and beer at the same time, which is not the most healthy option. A friend attests to swapping beer for wine. It’s more healthy and goes well together too : )

I have been away during Chinese New Year on a solo trip to India last year, and it’s not the most joyous of all occasions. I remember feeling very lonely, not because there was no festive atmosphere at all in India, but because I was without the company of my friends and family. Scooting off to discover far lands may seem ideal during the CNY holidays, but I rather stay in Singapore to receive the warmth and blessings from friends, family and even from relatives that I meet only once a year.

Phebe's CNY was spent at Jama Masjid in Delhi
Phebe’s CNY was spent at Jama Masjid in Delhi

Do you travel overseas or stay at home during CNY?

How Chinese in Myanmar celebrate Chinese New Year

I don’t usually reblog posts but this topic is timely and from my friend Nicole.
Happy Chinese New Year!

Nini's broadcast station

Chinese New Year is not an official bank holiday in Myanmar but Chinese people normally take leave from school or work to celebrate the 2-day cerebration – the New Year Eve and the New Year Day.

There are a few different types of Chinese in Myanmar – mainly Hokkien and Cantonese. But we also have some Hakka and Yunnan Chinese. We all celebrate Chinese New Year in slightly different ways – for example, the ritual of worship, the temple that we visit, etc. Since majority of the people in Myanmar is Buddhist, the ritual includes mostly worshiping different god and visiting different temples.

I will share with you how my parents celebrate Chinese New Year in Hakka way.

On the New Year Eve morning, we worship to the heavenly god (拜天神). For this ritual, we have to prepare 1  cup of wine, 3 cups of tea, 3 types of meat

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How Malaysians celebrate Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year lantern

Today is Chinese New Year eve, the second most important day of Chinese New Year (CNY).

CNY eve dinner is an important time for family to gather together, eat good food and be nagged by elders. [Note to YQ: Do not be a patronizing aunt when you grow up.]

Enough bitterness, I want to share a two-part series of collaborative posts to mark CNY.

Early this week, I asked on Facebook for information on how different people celebrate Chinese New Year in different countries. For the feature, I was planning to have many Chinese folks in different countries to talk about their traditions.

Unfortunately, not many random strangers on the internet took up the challenge. I guess this might also be a good thing since it makes the post more cosy.

How Malaysians overseas celebrate CNY

First up is Max Yam from maxayam.blogspot.sg. Max is a fellow Sabahan who lives just a 5 minute car ride away from my house.

On Facebook, he commented

To wanderers like us, Chinese New Year is about travelling, travelling home, and leaving home again… again and again… we seem to appreciate ‘home’ when we are away, but we are getting blur about the meaning of ‘home’ eventually…

His note struck a chord with me since I felt homeless for a period of time even though I had a permanent place to lay my head both in Malaysia and Singapore.

How my family celebrates CNY

Since CNY is about the family, I will share what my parents, my sister and I do during CNY.

On CNY eve, it’s the obligatory CNY reunion dinner. I am thankfully seated at the children table where there is less drama.

After our meals, my uncle will give his words of wisdom to anyone who’s listening, interjecting his sentences with, “You understand what I’m saying?”.

Other relatives will politely ask me what my job is even though we’ve been through this for many years. At the end, everyone gathers for a group photo.

On CNY proper, my family heads to the Buddhist temple to pray. Based on the traffic jam and the madness of looking for parking, I think it’s really auspicious to visit the temple on the first day.

Next stop is the KK branch of Tzu Chi. My other uncle and his family are devoted members of the charity/group. My family hangs around, eating some noodles and peeling oranges.

There is usually a lion dance as well.

I then spend the rest of the CNY period visiting other family friends or relatives. Oh, we also receive angpow (red packets) from married people. Hurray for the singles!

Chinese New Year is supposed to last until the 15th day. However, in the modern world, we only get two days of public holiday.

How do you celebrate Chinese New Year?