As hundreds of Chinese families across Asia settle down to reunion dinner, I’m writing to you by the poolside under swaying palm trees, blue skies and blooming bougainvillea.
This year, my family has decided to celebrate Chinese New Year with a vacation in Dubai and while I dearly miss our extended family in Singapore, they are not too far away with constant updates on Facebook, Whatsapp and WeChat, sending photos of reunion dinner preparations as we approach the witching hour.
Through their streaming updates, I laugh with old high school friends from Singapore who post videos of their young children learning how to ask for red packets. I sympathize Chinese and foreign colleagues whose airplanes are grounded in hazy Shanghai or Beijing, simmering in frustration as they count the hours to being home with their families. I smile wryly at photos of the diversity of hometowns, be it in a crowded apartment in the city or the rolling hills of the countryside.
My family will settle down to our reunion dinner in a few more hours just as Chinese families will welcome the Year of the Horse with spectacular fireworks. At the stroke of midnight, everyone will send out a barrage of mobile phone texts, employing the wonderful word play of the horse to extend best wishes of prosperity, success, health, wealth and more wealth.
So I’d like to take the oppotunity to wish all readers a very Happy Chinese New Year! May your Year of the Horse be a healthy, properous and happy one!