Lamentations Of The Impending Chinese New Year

The dreaded Chinese New Year is fast approaching; dreaded not because I fear the festival itself but what accompanies it – crazy traffic jams in the expressways, packed shopping malls and hawkers taking long breaks. Still, we put ourselves through this just to be close to loved ones living far away on this auspicious occasion.

There was one year we were crawling in the North-South Expressway for five hours from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh on a journey that usually took only two hours. What made it worse was that most of the rest stops along the expressway were chock-full of travellers and two very annoyed cats confined in their carriers with us in the car. Good thing they had the sense to hold their bladders until we reached Ipoh.

Many hawkers also like to close their businesses for up to a week during the Chinese New Year holidays. Looking for food during this time is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Finding one does not signify luck of the new year. Hawkers opened during this festive season have no qualms in adding a RM1 surcharge to each single serving. The justification is that they have to work on such an important occasion. They are cutthroats notheless.

Complaints aside, I look forward to the Chinese New Year for the opportunity to be among the warmth of family, share meals together and the general air of festivity. Wuan has been sprucing up the house with festive decorations and made me buy new clothes and shoes to herald in the change of season. This makes the sense of anticipation even more. Most of all, the Chinese New Year was the happiest occasion when I was a child. I am hoping to recapture some of those memories and exhilaration of years long gone this year.

6 thoughts on “Lamentations Of The Impending Chinese New Year”

  1. One year, my cousin brother and his family took 7 hours from KL to Ipoh! They arrived in Ipoh just in time for reunion dinner at the restaurant!

    Wishing you a happy, prosperous and productive new year, Peter! :D

    1. I pray I don’t have to go through that. 7 hours is madness. I could have touched down in Tokyo or Seoul from KL already! Here’s wishing you and your turtles a wonderful year.

  2. Not only do they charge an addition RM1, some unscrupulous traders have no hesitation in increasing the prices until the 15th day. Reason? “We’ve no choice to increase because the supplier increased their price.”

    This is probably the reason why I prefer to stay in the city during the festive season and head on a road trip on normal working days, but I understand that not all have the luxury of doing so without sacrificing their annual leave.

    1. It is also difficult to find hawker food in the city during this season. And many people have to travel back to their hometowns for reunion and new year meals. Doing it any other time is just not the same.

  3. I share your sentiments, Peter. Everywhere is jam-packed and just to get around for work…eesshhh….stressed big time la. Anyway, here’s wishing you and Wuan a most prosperous year of the Dragon….Keong Hee…Keong Hee..

    1. Luckily our new year shopping almost done. No need to jostle with the last minute shoppers anymore. Keong Hee Huat Chai to you and family, too.

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