But as the Lunar New Year draws nearer, unfortunately I am reminded of the not-so-nice side of our Chinese culture of "wanting face" or "saving face", showing off, always wanting to one-up the other person, and yet through all this-- complain that your life is terrible, and woe is you, so definitely.
There are way more highlights during the Lunar New Year like being with family, great (I mean hella great) food, time-off work, and typically most people return to their parents home town (likely a small town)so the environment is super chilled and the people are generally nicer than in Kuala Lumpur. Best part? To watch family drama LIVE.
This year I'm spending it with my in-laws again, as is the tradition after a girl marries. But I don't mind. I like my in-laws... heck I love them! They're mostly nice and only some make a big fuss about little things, but you have to expect a standard deviation everywhere you go :)
And one of my favourite parts of the Lunar New Year is the "Loh Sang". I don't enjoy eating it, but I enjoy the ruckus everybody makes while tossing this Asian salad. Good wishes all round for everyone at the table! The higher you toss, the more likely your wishes come true. Oh yes.
But you don't just make wishes! These wishes have to be condensed to four words. Four poetic words. And so being a 4th generation Chinese in Malaysia, without having any formal Chinese education (and totally unable to carry a conversation in mandarin) I've come to learn from experience that it's not really THAT important for others to know WHAT you say. It's merely important for people to hear HOW you say it.
So here's a list of 4-word Chinese phrases for you to blurt out during Lou Yee Sang v2014:
1. Lou ah lou ah! (Toss! Toss!)
2. Lou kou kou ah! (Toss higher!)
3. Fai fai sang zhai! (To have sons quickly!)
4. Pou pou koh seng! (To advance in career)
5. San tai keen hong! (To have good health)
These first 5 are legit phrases that people would say around the table while tossing the salad. They're all round good wishes for yourself and for others. However there are a host of other words that I have absolutely no clue about! So for the mischievous, here are my personal favourites:
1. Siu zheh mai tan (Miss, bill please!)
2. Kuey teow moi hum (Noodles, no cockles please)
3. Mou zhou so zhai (Don't be a stupid boy)
4. Sek tou fei fei (Eat until you're fat)
5. Kai fan siew yok! (Chicken rice with roast pork)
Happy Chinese New Year to all who celebrate!