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Columns: Chinese New Year
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2001
Topic: Louie Chin Ooh Lui
Louie Chin Ooh Lui

Happy Chinese New Year, all!

I'm spending Chinese New Year in jolly old Oxbridge, which, as you know, is the prestigious university where I'm on a publicly-funded scholarship to pursue political engineering!

This may come as a surprise to you, but Chinese New Year is observed in a very big way here at Oxbridge!

I just came from the Main Quad, where the Chancellor of the University was prancing about in a lion costume.

He was trying to grab a cheque which was being dangled from a fishing pole on the third floor of the engineering building by the guest of honour, a Mr. Say Gwei Lo, CEO of Hong Kong corporate giant Daseefutt Holdings.

Although some have suggested that all this is merely to curry favour with rich Asians for continued funding, I can't accept this cynical view.

I'm sure the English are celebrating Chinese New Year in nothing more than the grand spirit of intercultural understanding!

Well, even if they aren't, they'd better, if they want Daddy to help them build their new Business Faculty annex.

Anyway, I must confess I'm not very traditional about Chinese New Year.

I think it's a whole lot of superstitious nonsense, frankly!

Like this not sweeping the floor on New Year's Day thing.

I mean, surely it's not a concern in this modern day and age!

Just ask your maid to do it... and let her have the bad luck. What do we care?

And all this lion dancing, and proffering of oranges, and stuff, it's just primitive and barbarous.

I remember how when I was in Secondary School at Stamford Institution, I wrote to the Principal suggesting that certain Chinese New Year traditions be modified to reflect more civilised practices.

Like substituting dancing round the maypole for lion dancing.

Or replacing beastly Chinese New Year cookies with steak and kidney pie and jellied eels.

Or having a Father Chinese New Year figure distribute Chinese New Year gifts under the Chinese New Year tree, with all of us singing Chinese New Year carols.

Unfortunately, nobody seemed to appreciate how much better Chinese New Year would be if it were a more English!

So naturally, I had Daddy, who sits on the board of the school, have the principal fired the next year.

But not before having him publicly flogged in front of the Ministry of Education.

Perhaps the only Chinese tradition I find tolerable is the giving of red packets.

Even then, we don't really practice it in the traditional way in my family.

Daddy much prefers to send the money to me by telegraphic transfer. Or maybe Western Union.

There's only so much cash you can stuff in those silly little red packets, you see. So it doesn't make sense at all.

So what Daddy does is send me the bank receipt in the little red packet.

It's rather silly, and not at all environmentally friendly to be expending so much paper, frankly, but that's tradition for you.

Because of my views, some have accused me of being a "banana", you know, yellow on the outside, white on the inside.

When I think of these accusations, I always feel sad. Because it's so unfair!

Unfair that I'm not also white on the outside, when inside me beats the heart of a true-blue colonial! I mean, I even eat potatoes with my rice, for pity's sake!

I know! I'll spend this year's ang-pow money on a Michael Jackson skin job!

And I won't be a banana anymore... I'll be a cauliflower!

See you next week, chums!

- Louie

© 2001-2003. All rights reserved.
(If you're circulating this by email to your friends, please include this attribution. It's only polite, leh!)

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