Get ready…

Just two more weekends and it will be the Chinese New Year weekend already! Oh dear! I have not made any preparation whatsoever and honestly, I do not know when I’ll be able to find the time to get down to doing that. For one thing, I will not be buying any new clothes as I will not be able to find my size around here, so I’ll just wear my used-but-still-in-good-condition ones when the time comes.

I see many houses around here that are gaily lit, all ready for the occasion. The shops have been selling the red lanterns and other Chinese New Year decorations since December or even November…

Chinese New Year lanterns on sale

Well, normally I do not bother about decorating the house and making it look like some kind of Chinese temple. One of my friends once said to me, “Why bother? Just make sure that the food is nice, that’s more important!” I must say that I couldn’t agree more. So, I’d better start shopping for the necessary ingredients at the earliest opportunity I can get!

The bakeries are getting orders for cakes and cookies already…and I see many places already selling them.

Chinese New Year cookies on sale

Eyew! Imagine eating one-month-old cookies!!! My missus will bake the cakes and cookies herself and she always does it at the last minute, so I reckon she’ll be doing that the Saturday and Sunday before Chinese New Year.

More often than not, during this festive occasion, we would not need to go through all the hassle of preparing anything as I would take off with her and our daughter to some place – away from the noise and fumes of the firecrackers and fireworks, relaxing at some hotel somewhere and enjoying the comfort and the peace and quiet until it was safe to come home. Last year, we were at Cititel Penang…

Mel in Penang CNY 2008

The fumes would make me feel asthmatic and other than that,  the noise makes everyone jittery and a total nervous wreck. It did not help one bit that the brat in the neighbourhood (Not you, Stanleycarter! LOL!!!) would insist on throwing the earth-shattering type right outside our gate! (Australian grad, working Down Under! I hope he’s not coming home this year and if he is and tries to pull that stunt again, I’ll just call the police! He’s not some silly little kid anymore and should know better!  So kurang ajar! Don’t parents teach their kids anymore these days? No sense of consideration and neighbourliness whatsoever!!!)

I do not mind a bit of it to uphold the tradition – once before the reunion dinner, another time at midnight and again in the early morning…and maybe, again on a certain day when they welcome the God of Prosperity or something and also before the Chap Goh Meh dinner, but some will play it the whole day through. I know of a businessman, quite sometime ago, who would set off firecrackers in front of his house, at the sides and even at the back. He spent thousands on the stuff and it certainly did not make him more prosperous. He himself disappeared (to get away from the debtors), people came to the house and took away his cars…his Harley…and eventually, they threw his wife and kids into the street – they repossessed his house. So much for that silly superstition of firecrackers bringing good fortune!

The only people laughing all the way to the banks would be the Ah Longs whom I understand control the import (smuggling) and sale of all firecrackers and fireworks. Just think about it! If you are buying any (at astronomical prices), you are, in fact, supporting the Ah Longs! Accomplices! Partners in crime!

Now, with the economic recession, I certainly hope that people will have the sense to cut down on this most unnecessary spending! I, for one, am certainly looking forward to a quieter and healthier Chinese New Year this year! Are you?