Red and Ringing

Happy Lunar New Year! I know I’m late by quite a number of days, but we’re not at the full moon yet, so technically it’s still an acceptable practice to exchange blessings for the Year of the Monkey. Speaking of which, it’s my year! I guess most people aren’t too excited at the thought of being another dozen years older, but at the same time, a 12-year cycle does take quite a long time to get through. The last time we had a Monkey Year, I was still in elementary school! It’s interesting to see how each time we get through another cycle, we’re each in a vastly different stage of life.

Even though we are still in the first two weeks of the Lunar New Year (and hence still the ‘new year period’), the schools close to where I live are already back in session. I enjoyed 1- days of peaceful and quiet streets, but when I stepped out this morning, the difference is immediately obvious. School buses, cars, parents – all crowding around our tiny little lane.

My Chinese New Year holidays were all spent up too quickly. We went around to visit relatives as usual. Lots of food was eaten. (I played lots of soccer as well, but probably not enough to make up for the food). I’ve always said that I don’t like how this city lacks in Christmas festive spirit, but I suppose they make up for it in the atmosphere of the Lunar New Year.

(I still think Christmas carols sound a lot better than the ringing and clashing of Chinese New Year songs, but that’s just my opinion…)

I learned that during the first day of the Chinese New Year, there’s this unspoken rule about parking on the streets. It’s the one day you can park wherever you want without getting a ticket, because everyone is going out to visit relatives anyway. Of course, I’m talking about parking on the side of the street in a zone that is otherwise a ‘no-stopping zone’. I’m pretty sure someone will still tow your car if you just stop it in the middle of the road.

For the first time in my life, I played 魚蝦蟹 – literally, “fish shrimp crab”. It’s a simple dice game with 6 squares and 3 dice, and you bet on what faces the dices will show. For each match, you get a 1:1 return on your bet. To be honest, I don’t like gambling games where no skill is involved. That’s when your return is completely based on luck, and let’s be honest – I don’t have much of that. But just for the sake of family time and making noise and atmosphere, I admit it’s quite fun.

And of course… the red pockets. I enjoy them now, but eventually there will come the day where I’m on the giving instead of receiving end!

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