Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Checklist for Chinese New Year 2015

1. Figure out if we are celebrating Year of the Goat or Year of the Sheep.

Us Chinese have had such a long history with written records existing from as early as 1200 BC. And suddenly this year, with the new year approaching, there is this big question of what the next Chinese zodiac year should be. Is it the Year of the Goat or the Year of the Sheep?

Goats at Chinatown

Retailers all over Singapore are not united in their choice of animal. Some are doing it the tradional way and going with the goat. Others find the sheep "cuter".
"Technically speaking, the different interpretations are not wrong. Assistant professor Lee Cheuk Yin, who heads the Department of Chinese Studies at the National University of Singapore, says: "As the Chinese character is yang, the zodiac sign could be interpreted as either shanyang (mountain goat), mianyang (sheep) or lingyang (gazelle) and still be technically correct."               Read here.

This 'yang' is fictional. It does not refer to any specific kind (of sheep or goat)," Zhao Shu, a researcher with the Beijing Research Institute of Culture and History, told AFP.     Read here.

So experts are saying it can be goat, sheep or gazelle. Gazelle? Gazelle? Growing up we had the 12 zodiac animals hammered into our brains. I'm serious. Hammered. In school, at home, everywhere. And each and every time it has always been a goat. I say let's stick with goat. If we're gonna follow tradition, let's do it the traditional way. I have nothing against the sheep or gazelle. If right from the start it had been sheep or gazelle, that's okay. But one of my sisters was born in the Year of the Goat. I can't like, oh, she's a goat or a sheep or even a gazelle. The zodiac animals is big deal in Chinese culture. It's so ingrained. I cannot, overnight accept sheep or gazelle, whatever the "experts" say.

2. Buy mandarin oranges

I dutifully bought 8 mandarin oranges and managed to get them fresh from the box. These are swatow mandarin oranges from China. A few looked like a bad case of acne. I much prefer the smooth skin ones but the ones on display looked rotten so I opted for these.Why does NTUC supermarket sell rotten fruits? It's so unacceptable. Worse - the crew put in fresh ones with the rotten ones.

3. Prepare ang pow packets and new notes

This year we were on the ball and got our packets and notes sorted out early. Our notes aren't really fresh new. It's still money! On the note of new money, I think fresh notes are highly overrated. Firstly, you have to queue for them. Secondly, if you get them from the bank, the $2 ones come pre-packed. I remember one year I was short changed when I realised that my 100 pcs of $2 pre-packed notes had several notes missing. I believe that's called THEFT. Our relatives are going to have to accept our not so fresh notes.

4. Get new hair

I had my hair cut and coloured. This was the pic I sent to hubs after my hair was done. I no longer look like this. After a hair wash, it all went to shit all over the place. Just imagine an explosion of 1000%.

 My kids got their haircuts too.

Hubs is loving his hair too much to get a cut.

5. Get New Year goodies
This container of kueh buloh was the only goodie I bought. It costs $10. That's daylight robbery. It's emergency food for my kids over the Chinese New Year. I am not allowing myself to eat any. I can do it!

6. Get New Year outfits
I only need one new outfit because all our visiting is accomplished in one day. The more people you visit, the more ang pow money you have to give. This year I'm going very simple. It's a Bossini cotton blouse and a maroon Pull and Bear skirt. I wonder how many women I will run into wearing the same blouse as me. (it was on sale) I haven't worn a skirt in years! The outfit doesn't look great in the pic but I think I look okay in it. I do have a few other new tees and shorts but they are in shades of grey and black so totally not suitable for Chinese New Year.

I really love the skirt but it's so hard to photograph.

7. Get new shoes
In the past I was quite frugal with footwear. I would buy a few and wear them to death before I would get another pair. Ever since I bought my Teva pink sandals and discovered how awesome they are, I had a change of mindset. Previously, I only bought Ipanema but they have disappointed me a few times. I have one pair which hurts like hell. Anyway, I now think it's possible to find better and better footwear. Which explains my numerous purchases between December and February during the Christmas and Chinese New Year sales.

I bought these because I wanted a pair of red sandals and it was comfortable when I tried it.

This Teva slipper cum sandals is adorable. The colour is not as red as what you see. It really complements my skin tone.

Another Teva sandals. This one I'm going to wear sparingly so it could last a decade.

This is my first pair of Sole Lovers. I was so attracted to the colours. I hope it doesn't hurt.

This pair is from h&m and very cheap. It doesn't offer any arch support so I can't wear them for long distance.

I think these are men's slippers and they are from Global Works which is closing down and exiting Singapore. I love men's footwear but they are usually too large for me. This one fitted me just fine.

And finally these are my awesomest memory foam running shoes from Skechers. The arch support is not fantastic so I probably shouldn't run my 7km in them. They are very, very comfortable and so light.

Did I go a bit overboard with my footwear purchases? I won't need any new footwear for the next 2 or 3 years. I haven't decided which pair of footwear I will wear with my Chinese New Year outfit. It's probably NOT the running shoes.

8. Spring cleaning
I've done some tidying and cleaning but let's face it. It will never be neat and tidy. But I will clear the clean laundry from the sofa, I promise.


Sandra :) said...

I had no idea about all the traditions associated with Chinese New Year - your post makes me want to do some more reading and find out more :)

I went a Googling to find out what animal represents the year I was born in, and found a post (tinyurl.com/o237bfo) by "a leading Chinese linguist" who concurs with you that it's the year of the goat, since "food culture pointed to the goat as the most likely animal to have been included in the zodiac from its inception." - there you go - your sister is definitely a goat, LOL! I'm still trying to find out what animal I am, but from what I've read, I think I'm hoping it's a dragon ;)

Christel Goh said...

I don't see what's the hype with having "brand new" notes. After changing new notes from the bank, 80% of the notes still go back to the bank at the end of CNY. :\

Projects By Jane said...

Christel, wait till you have to give ang pow. See if you have a change of mindset? Altho' I don't particularly care about fresh notes, I do make it a point not to use smelly notes. That's called filthy money, rite?

Christel Goh said...

Hi Jane, haha maybe by then I'll have a change of mindset and be "mainstream". I agree that we shouldn't use "filthy" or crumply notes, but I'm okay with "good as new notes" as long as it's money ;)

corinna said...

Gong xi Fa cai loved to read it and being born in the zodiac of Pisces I would be very annoyed if they'd change it to Ealing or whale or even crab or something, so I'm going with the goat as well, but may be I promote my little sheep a bit. ..see you soon

Carol & Eddy said...

Gong Xi Fa Cai! We couldn't get new notes on time, the $2 equiv we had looked terrible (think: notes swapping hands a hundred times at the market!). Felt so embarrassed putting them into the red packets but had no choice. Oh well, we'll do better the next round :-)

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