Gong xi fa cai!

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Happy Chinese New Year to all you Chinese out there…and to those like myself who always wish they could be just a little more culturally attached to it, as opposed to just simply interested. It’s a re-occurring theme for me, these different Chinese festivals and always feeling somewhat culturally envious about the tradition and thought behind everything celebrated. It is so much more than a bunch of people getting tanked then watching fireworks.

I was in Box Hill on Saturday afternoon, helping out my work who had a tent in the middle of all the goings on. It was quiet, with not many Chinese approaching the mostly whitey staff – and i got the feeling that when you’re definitively in the minority, the mostly Chinese crowd  just plain and simple cant be bothered speaking English. I was there for two hours and it passed by quickly, though it was disgustingly hot and humid, leaving me dripping with sweat.

In between speaking to several people, I simply stood there as an observer, people watching. That in itself was fun. You had everything from the Chinese families with their super cute face painted children, to the old pasty white men with their super young Chinese wives ($$..ick).

The festival always cracks me up – the tents on display are just not ‘festival’ – it’s more like a local trade show. Maybe you need to be Asian to appreciate it, but you have tents promoting everything from the post office, to pillows, to bank accounts. Of course there’s always the eye-test tests, and dvd stands and nowadays a plethora of Angry Bird plushie stands.

The definite highlight for me is the food, the lamb skewers in particular. And this year – even they were disappointing! I bought four (for a whopping ten bucks) and both were brimming with fat and only barely cooked – it’s as if they’re cranking out as many as humanly possible to make as much money as humanly possible. Of course as we got close in the queue, a Chinese guy pushed in front of me to order some for himself showing that yes, they’re not only rude bastards on the Mainland!

We didn’t really spend too much time walking around, it just wasn’t worth it. The festival attracts upwards of 80,000 people every year, and the narrow walkways through the tents are absolutely packed with people. Worse is the food street where you have even more people; all with eyes on the food stands and not where they’re walking! I tried a korean potato twist which was delicious – though a bit of a rip-off at five bucks, then a strawberry skewer covered in toffee…another five bucks..then a mango and coconut sago drink which was again, five bucks. So with a full belly and empty pockets, we headed home to wash our faces, as nothing quite makes you feel as disgusting as bloody humidity!

May your 2012 be prosperous!

Yeah baby!

And the highlight of the day....these awesome Chinese lion hand puppets!

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2 Responses to “Gong xi fa cai!”

  1. Tom Says:

    恭喜發財!
    I miss the lamb skewers =( they’re not popular in Hong Kong (lamb isn’t popular at all here). and the HKers will say its too “喝气“ (in mandarin, they’ll call it “上火”.)
    I can’t wait for the Chinese New Year to be over! apart from avoiding people to save cash (no need to give out red pockets) and the smell of people who don’t bathe for the 10 days of the new year (apparently, if you take a shower in the first 10 days, you’ll ‘wash’ away the good luck), it’s the commercials I can’t wait to be over! TV Stations here run 5-10 second commercials from hundreds of companies making new year wishes,

    BTW, you should try the “Flower Market” in Hong Kong one year. Ala: http://www.cnngo.com/hong-kong/life/8-so-bad-theyre-good-items-sale-chinese-new-year-market-495054

  2. ordinary malaysian Says:

    Unfortunately CNY there is not quiet the CNY for you like the CNY in mainland China. Wish you could be in China. Or even here in Malaysia where we Chinese do celebrate the holiday in a big way with the usual din of fireworks and crackers, lion dances, ang paos or red packets, food, yam sengs or gan bei 干杯 (bottoms up), although we do not make or eat dumplings specially for CNY. 新年快乐 to you and as we Malaysians are also fond of saying 恭喜发财! I do enjoy your postings especially the ones when you were in China. Do keep on posting. Thanks.

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