The 5 Biggest ‘Ughs’ in every Malaysian’s Chinese New Year
Yay! It’s red, it’s prosperous and sometimes preposterous! As much as the Chinese New Year is loved, there are still a couple of pet peeves that grind our Malaysian gears.
As such, let us break down on what are the common things that somehow manage to stain our holiday mood.
1. Traffic Jams
Oh boy! Isn’t this a bane for anyone who wants to ‘balik kampung’. It is not uncommon for Malaysians to be stuck in a jam for more than 5-10 hours trying to get back to their hometown. Not forgetting the fact that Malaysians road ethics are nothing short but ‘brilliant’. If you can’t tell, we’re being sarcastic.
And when all these shambolic elements combine, what we have are roads flooded with cars with honking seasoning. Then again, Malaysians are always well-prepared with the most innovative ideas to curb the issue.
To our surprise, air purifiers are almost spotted in most Malaysian cars nowadays. Notice how e-hailing services like Grab and MyCar have one of these inside their vehicles; it is almost mandatory for maximum comfort. You’re stuck inside your car for countless hours, might as well make it smell like as serene and aromatic as possible right?
Aromatic yes, but the aforementioned serenity needs another remedy. To fix the honking sound we recommend jiving into music. Earphones are a necessity to mask over the obnoxious honking noise that is adding salt to the injury.
That being said, take caution while driving and make sure to not be TOO immerse in your music that you lose your driving sense!
2. Small talks
“When are you getting married ah?” “When are you getting children ah?” “So big already ah?” “Where’s your girlfriend ah?”
Whew! Get ready for a BARRAGE of these so to say nonsensical questions that are repeated every year and at almost every family gathering. Usually the wise would come out with some witty answers and the dull would stare into oblivion, poker-facing themselves to salvation. Don’t even get us started on the ‘bananas’ (a term used to describe a Chinese that can’t proficiently converse in Mandarin).
Even so, these are one of the very few rites of passage that one needs to endure to get to that ultimate reward, the final satisfaction. The almighty angpow.
3. Overcrowded shopping malls
We just love how uniquely different every shopping mall decors are during these festive seasons and CNY is one of the more extravagant ones. Try hopping into any of the top-tier malls like Mid Valley or Pavilion and you are bound to witness CNY aesthetics of the highest calibre.
Here’s the catch though. Nice things attract audiences, and for some reason, everyone in Malaysia is somehow outside the comfort of their home and spending their holidays in shopping complexes simultaneously.
This is a goddamn mood-killer. Fellow comrades barging over one another just to get a glimpse of that overused lion dance routine can be pretty tiring. On top of that, the blasting of overused Chinese New Year ‘ballads’ can sometimes be low-key irritating when merged with the stressful crowd.
Not really a bad option to stay at home and spend a little more time with your family and relatives.
4. Getting your name butchered to pieces
Mary becomes Maly, Alex becomes Aliek and any other English names that consist of more than 3 consonants are automatically labelled as “Ah Boy” or “Ah Girl”.
We all know this is harmless and innocent but some of their pronunciation can be downright hilarious! Whether you’re in the receiving end or one of your siblings and cousins names getting slaughtered does ignite a bit of an ember but we all love our elderlies nonetheless.
Adding to the fact most of them secretly laugh behind our backs, cringing on our horrid Chinese language proficiency paired with our shallow knowledge of our cultural heritage. So we guess we’re even?
5. The post CNY clean-up session
Dread it. Run from it. The post-cleaning still arrives all the same.
As all good things come to an end, the Chinese New Year does have its expiration date and when it comes, we’re in for a world of pain. Cleaning up those bright red decors that we tirelessly helped our mom set up has to go. And believe us when we say this, the cleaning is much more difficult than the prepping.
If you’re lucky, you might have appliances to assist you in your task, but most of the time we will be working like an underpaid worker, tidying up our house under the edict of our parents.
Really? We’re in the midst of recovering from our emotional distress of having to return to work and we’re still bombarded with endless cleaning tasks. But we had our fair share of fun and when it’s due, reality returns.
Aiya! What’s the worry, Malaysia is famed for its opulence in holidays and Thaipusam is just around the corner *winks*