Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chinese New Year begins to Suck

Does bitterness and discontentment come with age? Have I thoroughly outstripped my propensity to indulge in the festive spirits?

There aren’t many things I look forward to in the calendar year. I hate Valentine’s Day because there never really is a reason to celebrate it and it isn’t even a holiday. I hate birthdays because when you can legitimately enter all clubs, there really isn’t a reason to age. I hate Christmas because I found out Santa is really just my credit card.

Chinese New Year has always been the highlight of the year, because it proves that marriage isn’t always the better thing and I feel like I’m being rewarded for staying a bachelor. It is the one time that I know people are going to be indirectly sponsoring my drink tab. It is the one time I can play mahjong through the night without the cops coming by.

Not this year.

I remembered when I was a lot younger, way before alcohol and sex were ever introduced to me, I would collect so many Ang Baos, that I needed a pouch to keep them and by the time CNY wrapped up, I would have over 100 packets to pull out the notes from.

These days, if I still had my pouch, I could keep 6 packs of cigarettes, an iPod, the Ang Baos and still have enough room in there for a kangaroo. And as I am typing this, I am doing a count of the red packets and I do not even have 20 of them.

Do people not realize that as I get older, my expenses climb at an exponential rate that far exceeds the prevailing rate of inflation? Do people not realize that even within the midst of an economic pandemonium, I still have high expectations of reaping good returns just because it is CNY? Do people not realize that I don’t think it’s funny when they say, ‘so big already, don’t need to give Ang Bao’, and I STILL expect to be given one?

There is only one rule when it’s CNY,

As long as I am un-married, I get an Ang Bao

And I, as a gesture of reciprocation and goodwill, will greet you with trivial niceties and superficial well wishes of striking the lottery, but only because if I win, I don’t want to be sharing with anyone else. And if it’s going to be a nice fat packet, then I’ll even do a “Happy Niu Year” or “Have an Oxpicious Year” crap.

And that’s as far as I will degenerate myself to, because I think it’s a fucking irritating pun. It’s so irritating deaf people will tell you to shut up.

One reason why there has been a dip in absolute numbers, is also attributed to the fact that being in close proximity to a kid, automatically surrenders your chance for one. This is only because you are by default, the kid’s father.

No, surely people are not so vocal with such hasty preconceptions? Who would ever mistake a guy carrying a diaper bag and a kid as the father? Why would anyone posit such an impression? Aren’t fathers supposed to just drink beer and pay the bills?

Well obviously, this guy was so sure of himself to have shot such a desultory remark, quite randomly if you asked me, because it went from the stock market to, ‘Your baby looks like you’ and it had such a pregnant silence that followed, that I was convinced I could hear Elmo getting shot on Seasame Street.

You can imagine the situation. There sat the guy, thinking his compliment was going to save him a red packet. There I was, suddenly realizing why no one was giving me red packets. And there my sister sat, with an eternity of awkward glances between the guy and myself.

Me: “I’m not the father.”

And that was all it took to turn smiles into gaping holes between two lips, because as embarrassing it was for him, the last thing he needed was a comeback to save his remark. All he had to do was shut up or said the baby was cute, but no, he had to be a smart ass.

The other problem with CNY is that you get to see all your extended family repeatedly over the 2 weeks. That’s not a bad thing generally, but everyone needs to ask or say stupid things before they surrender the red packet over.

It would range from, “So when getting married” to “So big already better get married fast” to “where is your girlfriend”. Whatever happened to “good luck in your studies” or “be a good boy”? Has the economic downturn eroded all traditions of well wishes? Has society regressed into such a parsimonious shell that everything out comes with an earful of crap?

And where are the hampers? Years back, we used to have so many hampers delivered to us that if my house was at a corner, we could have setup a mama (convenience) store. I’m serious, all we needed was for one of them to come with fresh fish and we would qualify as a cold Storage.

This year? No one has even sent us a cupcake.

How am I ever going to enjoy myself every Chinese New Year if this keeps up?


At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to get the "Next year I don't want to give you ang pow anymore huh?" and "Next year its your chance to give my kids already hor!". I had to smile and just take it in, when all i really wanted to say is "KEEP YOUR FUCKING ANG POWS! I DON'T WANT THEM!"

So yes I can empathise.

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