I Remember – Chinese New Year

As a kid, I was most happy when Chinese New Year came around. The better off relative of my parents would visit and brought a life chicken. The chicken would be slaughtered for the dining table ultimately.

My father would fry mee sua 麵線 (longevity noodle) with cabbage on the first morning of Chinese New Year. Everyone got two eggs to go with the noodle. This was to signify we were one year older in the New Year, regardless of the dates of our birthdays. Besides this main item, we would have fish, chicken, and pork. It would be our best meal for the entire year.

My mother has relatives staying in Malaysia. They paid visits to our house since my mother is the eldest among her siblings. My father had relatives of his own and they stayed in Singapore. They also visited us.

Before the ban of firecrackers in early 1970s, I remember we played with firecrackers when I was still very young. Firecrackers came in small types that would not cause harm to others. It was the larger firecrackers that I was afraid to light up. The fuse seemed to light up fast and if one was not quick in letting go, it could blow up in your hand. Then you would have ringing sound in your ears. It happened to me once. We had sparklers also during the early years.

It was a tradition to do spring-cleaning days before the Chinese New Year. As kids, we helped to sweep the ceilings of cobwebs. We would clean the windows and washed the floors of our house. Up till today, we continue with this tradition. It is one way to discard unwanted things and to keep the house clean especially parts of the house we would not clean on a regular basis.

At every Chinese New Year, we would gather at my mother’s home for a reunion. Now we have four generations and my mother’s home is a bit small to accommodate 30 plus people. My mother continues to live in a 2-room rental flat from HDB. It is always a happy occasion when Chinese New Year comes around. We still have our mee sua with two eggs. It is so nostalgic.

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