We’re still in the midst of the 15 days of Lunar New Year, so Gong Xi Fa Cai!! I hope you had a wonderful time visiting family and friends, and enjoyed all the LNY delicacies.
This Chinese New Year season, as our family went about our reunion dinners and visitations, I’m reminded of this age-old principle of sowing and reaping. As I sat and chatted about old times with my aunties, uncles, cousins, as I carried grandnieces and took countless wefies with various sides of the extended families, I realised how blessed we are as a family - our parents, our grandparents had laboured to keep the family ties strong. Every new year as we exchanged stories of days gone by (some would call them old grandmother stories), I’ve learnt to appreciate that these stories were weaved with real people in them! It’s not Korean drama or reality TV. Its real life!!
These last few days, as we poured over old photographs filled with beehive hairstyles and can-can skirts, as we laughed over the bad fashion mistakes of our youth - we had lots of fun reminiscing the old days. As family sagas get retold, the essence of family togetherness gets filtered into our DNA and that’s something I’ve come to look forward to every Chinese New Year.
Instead of simply going through the motion of reunion dinners silently with family members who are practically strangers in our day-to-day lives, why not try to piece the family tree together? Who married whom, who are their kids, whose grandparents left their home country (China, India, Taiwan, Malaysia) to come to Singapore – or whose families have migrated where and why. Play the six degrees of separation game and you’ll discover that we’re all not that different after all ;)
This year was especially heart-warming for us because this year, we decided to host our family party even though we had no helper. Firstly, let me qualify that I am not a party animal. We do 2 parties a year, one for Christmas and one for Chinese New Year for our close friends and relatives, so that everyone has a relaxing time catching up with each other over home-cooked food. Generally, its free and easy and the turnout varies between lunch till dinner, about 50 –100 guests.
I pondered long and hard about doing the party this year because without a capable helper, cooking for 100pax is no mean feat and not something we’ve attempted before and catering is not an option –period. The family supported the decision and so we trudged forward. 3 generations cooking together for the first time in the kitchen, we went on countless trips to the wet markets and supermarkets.
Though in the end, we managed to hire a helper, she would have been lost if not for the support of my friends who didn’t just come for the party but showed up with food, drinks and even their helpers to help. Everyone was so supportive, thoughtful and understanding, I was floored by all the love and understanding that I received. I thought I was giving, in actual fact, I received so much more than I gave. It was the most disorganised party I’ve ever done (we ran out of rice and wine!!) but it was the one party I’ll remember for the rest of my life!
At the end of the party as my god-daughter was leaving, she showed me a delicate bracelet she was wearing and that really made my day. It was the first present I gave her, when she was one month old - a charm bracelet with butterflies and marigolds – the emblems of our business which we registered as Butterflies & Marigolds Pte Ltd the year she was born. She’s kept it safe all this while, waiting for the day she’s able wear it – and wear it well, she did.
It has been my privilege to sow into the lives of my friends and families, and they into mine. I pray that we’ll always be able and willing to continue to do the same for a long long time. But this year, I want to say that the pleasure of reaping a bountiful harvest from seeds sown a long time ago, is overflowing in my heart and too precious to put into words.
Have a fabulous February, friends ;)
PS: next year, I’ll start planning my CNY menu earlier!!