Uniquely Singapore Chinese New Year

How has Chinese New Year been for you so far?
It has been a little crazy for us

We had guests over at our llittle space on most days
so much so that many of my new dresses haven’t been worn

I reckoned that I wouldn’t look very glamourous even in a cheong sum if I had to zip in and out of the kitchen dishing out food
I would probably end up looking more like Misfit Maria

And I am so glad I had stocked up my fridge like what my mum does every year
becuase you really don’t know when you need to whip out something to feed your guests

I had to have everything that makes up Chinese New Year
even if it meant having left overs
which essentially mean having a good year with things in abundance
This tradition thing has grown into me, gawk !

Apart from being so much of my mother’s daughter
I blame it on my brief identity crisis when I lived in foreign lands
when my cheong sum didn’t look very ‘Chinese’ next to a mainland Chinese
and my Kebaya didn’t look very traditional beside a native Indonesian
much like my Nasi Lemak and curry chicken didn’t taste very authentic to a Malaysian and an Indian

So here I am today, a Singapore Chinese mum eager to find herself
which really explains why we have to do the Lao Yusheng every Chinese New Year
because it is really one of those very few things that is unqiuely Singapore, Chinese

This year, I added another culinary skill under my belt
I learned to make Kong Bak Pau from my mother-in-law
Yes, those fatty pork belly braised in dark soya sauce and wrapped in freshly steamed bun

I made a big pot for a party last Saturday
and we had the left overs for breakfast on Sunday morning

I still am not really sure what it means to be a Singapore Chinese
The concept continues to elude me
But the idea still evokes a sense of pride
That we somehow are unique and special in this world of franchises and “Made in China” uniformity

I am far from completing that Singapore Chinese identity thingy
But with every Kong Bah Pau
Every senseless toss of the Yusheng
Every gathering of family and friends to make merry and catch up
I think we are slowly getting there
Bit by bit
Slowly but surely, we are getting there





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