Quite a Quiet Chinese New Year

Quite a Quiet Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year - 2 days in a year when Singapore feels like India’s Bharat Bandh. #justsaying

That was my Facebook post on the second day in the Year of the Goat. Tellingly, the streets of Singapore, especially in the heartlands, tends to be quite desolated. Perhaps we have adopted Confucianistic values to the extreme, only serving our families while isolating the rest that are unrelated to us. Maybe it’s the exclusivity of the Chinese privilege, because we have since been pigeonholed by our mother tongues.

Festivities are merely illusions, and have been especially commercialized. Walking along Albert Mall after praying at the Kuan Yin temple, a lady is selling blessings to the laughning buddha for five dollars. The God of Fortune, at the intersection, makes a slow revolution with the grim reminder that wealth will arrive at your doorstep… one day. A busker - an old hag from China - dances with random old men on the streets, preying on their retirement handouts. For the men who are younger, they spend time tending to their nuclear families - a pouty wife, their old folks and a spoilt brat unwilling to sit still in McDonalds.

There is nothing but dreariness, as shiny malls around Singapore has turned into the new temples for our souls. The blinding spot lights in UNIQLO and H&M serves to hide the shadow of cookie monster in all of us. It is only in these two days of the year when we fill the hollow with family time, and we spend the rest pursuing abstract happiness. As we crave for a visit by the God of Fortune, we are unfortunate through and through. Sadly, in Singapore, Chinese New Year is truly another generic holiday.