Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year.

The time when three-quarters of the Singapore population are decked out in loud ang pow red colors, when the words "When are you getting married?" are uttered the most number of times simultaneously across the island, when people gathered around tables to toss shreds of overstocked vegetables and limp pieces of fish...

Ahh. How lovely.

I miss the childhood times when I looked forward to Chinese New Year, the new clothes and festive goodies it promises, and of course, the potential windfall from ang pows. The magical touch of the festival slowly evaporates as I headed towards adulthood, especially so when I started earning my own income. Receiving those little red packets seem like a very dreaded job to endure now. Yes, it becomes a job. Given autonomy, I will very much opt to escape my relatives' never-ending quest into my love life.

The job is a pleasure when the love life is all good. You bring a partner back, you laugh, you tease, you get your ang pows. But we all know the course of true love never did run smooth. I am mentally, emotionally exhausted from the break-up and the last thing I need is an avalanche of interrogations ranging from my grandmother's lament of how heart-broken she is, to my maternal aunties (I have 5 of them) questions of "What exactly did he do wrong?", on learning the update of my (lack-of) love life.


How can I articulate the times when I was despondent, when I was disappointed? I don't care to share the ugly side of my partner with my family, because I know they will worry needlessly. Instead, very often, I choose to direct my sadness and anger in other ways. Like running. Like whacking tennis balls. Things i do to exhaust myself physically so much, I have not the energy to brood nor weep.

Yet, I digress.

Ah, back to the odious festival of Chinese New Year.

For this once, I very much preferred my paternal side of the family because we are not close sufficiently to delve into each other's love lives. So instead of love life, I realized all the aunties (paternal or friends), upon learning I am completing my PhD, enjoy questioning me about their children's studies. Uh, I am like a walking MOE customer hotline when I have not the slightest idea what is the latest count of junior colleges in Singapore.

There you go, I will be minding my own business on my laptop, and there will be one auntie asking me about which university her daughter should enrol in, what faculty will make the most money (mercenary, eh?), etc. Like a queue number system, one auntie after the next, ranging from secondary school right up to PSLE. Should my son go to the NUS HIGH SCHOOL or what?

Like the freak I know! I don't even know what is happening in the Singapore School systems anymore. It is far too complex. I prefer own childhood when things are well, straightforward and frankly, more enjoyable.

Even when I resorted to bringing my dog for a walk to escape from the inquisitive MOE-like questions, one distant cousin insisted on bringing her 3-year-old daughter along, peppering me with more discussion on Singapore schools.


Chinese New Year. Those ang pows ain't worth it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, at least u get ang pows!
(although i got ang pows too without fending off any unwelcome questions :P) /tob

10:55 AM  
Blogger jellybeano said...

heh, thanks boy...

1:55 PM  

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