Saturday, February 13, 2010
Since I started working in this predominately Malay company some 3 years ago, the most common question around this time of the year is, "So, do you celebrate Christmas or Chinese New Year?" In the past one week, I was asked that question 3 times.
I used to get very annoyed. My friend Penthesilea gets very annoyed when people couldn't tell the simple difference between race and religion. She's a Chinese Muslim, and no, she isn't a convert. As you can imagine loads of people (and I imagine some of you out there too) scratched their head wondering how that was possible.
My friends tell me I have mellowed. A LOT. But I still give sarcastic answers when thrown stupid questions. But this is not a stupid question. It's a sad question.
It's sad to know that somebody can spend 30 years growing up in a so-called multi racial, multi cultural society yet never knew that Christmas and Chinese New Year are not mutually exclusive. This is the downright failure of the government's education system segregating kids from the get-go with the different types of school, colleges and universities.
We have no right to pride ourselves with the Visit Malaysia ads proclaiming our diversity as a selling point when in fact our citizens are really not that diverse. We are a bunch of people staying under the same roof but not really talking to one another. It's not that we hate or dislike one another (well, most of us logical ones anyway), it's just that we just don't talk quite enough. And we don't hang out quite enough.
This was meant to be nothing more than a Happy Chinese New Year greeting, and I don't wish to be too preachy. We can't have all this doom and gloom in the New Year now, can we?
So, enjoy your booze, enjoy your bak kua and enjoy the gambling.
Drive safe folks.
Happy New Year.
What makes it funnier is that there are some CHINESE people who don't even know that CNY isn't a religious celebration. I've known a few. Shameful.
Happy New Year.
is it specifically celebrated only by tiong hua tribes? is all chinese in malaysia/singapore/indonesia is from this tribe?
people also should know that hari raya aidilfitri is not new year for muslims :)
p/s chinese new year isn't really chinese new year. it's the lunar new year, which is celebrated by people all across asia (not just the chinese) and probably in other parts of the world too. probably got to do with the fact that farmers used lunar calendars to plan their agricultural activities and, as you know, farmers don't only exist in china.