Things You Will And Won't Miss This CNY Cuz #COVID
STORY: Jovan Lee
11 February 2021
Celebrating CNY (the “C” could very well stand for “COVID”) in 2021 is going to be pretty different from the festivities that we’re used to having. This year, we have a bunch of rules to follow due to the COVID-19 restrictions that will undoubtedly quieten the hustle and bustle of the Lunar New Year.
We’ll have to remain disciplined in our CNY gatherings, as each household will only be allowed a maximum of eight visitors per day, and individuals are encouraged to visit only two households a day.
On top of that, if we’re dining out for our reunion dinners, we’ll have to mask up during our lo hei and do away with the traditional shouting of auspicious phrases. (Although now there’s an app for that.)
All of which makes us wonder: what are some things we will - and won’t - miss about CNY festivities this year?
THINGS YOU WILL MISS
Reeling in the dollar, dollar bills from ang paos
Okay, so I did some calculations for you.
If you can only visit 2 households a day, and those 2 households can only have up to 8 visitors each, you’ll see a maximum of 14 other people on a single day of visiting. Of those 14 people, let’s say all are ang-pao-giving-eligible couples, you can receive up to 9 ang paos in total (including the household owners).
Following the usual ang pao rates for nephews and nieces (given that you are likely to visit close family only), you can receive between $10 to $20 per ang pao. That leaves you with $90 to $180 of AP money per day. Max.
But hey, we’re not in it for the money. It’s all about spending time with your family and the good vibes. Right?
Pro Tip: Don’t waste time visiting your unmarried friends. Not much ROI. Just kidding. Or am I?
Competing with other tables to see who can lo the loudest
This one is in a bit of a grey area. Some may dislike the loud and often times, claustrophobic environment of tossing yu sheng, while others wait all night just to obliterate a neatly arranged plate of ingredients while howling at the top of their lungs, sometimes not even saying actual auspicious phrases.
If you are one of those who enjoy a lively lo hei, you’re going to miss it this year, especially if your family is dining out this CNY. You won’t be seeing tables competing with one another on who can toss their yu sheng the highest or which table generates the most sound. Instead, participants of a yu sheng toss will have to put on their masks and avoid shouting those auspicious phrases.
Pro Tip: Record yourself shouting your auspicious phrases beforehand, bring a Bluetooth speaker, and play the recording while you are tossing your yu sheng. Or just use this app lah. Either way, you won’t know the difference!
Getting the whole family together
For those of us with large families, it might be tough getting the whole family together this CNY. Especially for families that have three or more generations in their household, 8 visitors can mean a single household coming to visit.
2021’s CNY celebration will likely only involve close or immediate family, and we may have to wait another year before our 30-pax extended families can congregate again.
Pro Tip: It’s 2021. Technology allows us to connect with our loved ones without being in the presence of one another. Video call your extended relatives to wish them a prosperous new year. You can also slip in your PayNow number for that e-angpao.
THINGS YOU WON'T MISS
Your 4th aunt asking you when you’re getting married
Everyone has a 4th aunt that loves to be a cliché and ask you every personal question in the book.
“When you gonna find girlfriend?” “Huh? Got girlfriend already? Never bring?” “Then when y’all gonna get married?”
Just drop the bomb and say that you’ve already gotten married but she wasn’t invited. Buuurn.
A blessing in disguise, your 4th aunt may not get to visit this year, due to the restrictions. Heng ah, dodged a bullet.
Pro Tip: Sorry if it’s your 2nd aunt that always asks these types of questions.
Visiting your relatives that you only see once a year
I always get really awkward after wishing everyone a happy new year and then standing around a bunch of people I’ve not said “happy new year” to in a year.
Thankfully, I might not have to test my CNY social anxiety this year. Usually, you might visit your extended relatives whom you’ve not seen in a year, but this year, you’re likely to keep your visiting to a minimum, heading only to close family gatherings.
Pro Tip: Avoid the awkwardenss by maintaining that 1m of social distancing from people you don’t want to talk to.
Travel fatigue from going to all those homes
Most CNYs, I’m pretty much done after two house visits, retiring to the bottle of pineapple tarts just as the customary CNY sore throat starts to creep in. By the third house, I’ll be finding a nice spot on the couch for a nap.
2021’s regulations regulate your fatigue from visiting multiple houses. It also lets you spend more time at each of the two houses, and you won’t have to be the one that has to make an awkward exit as everyone beckons you to stay.