Sunday, January 22, 2012

This Chinese New Year

Its the eve of the eve.

Time fled from me and I didn't even bid goodbye to 2011 properly. And in a couple of days, the Lunar New Year would be upon us. When the season's tackiness is personified in every shade of red, orange and gold.

When the soft sliding of well worn  mah jong tiles accompany the blaring of the latest New Year remix (which sounds the same every year) and visitations by flirtatious lions with fluttering eyes and wagging tails.    

Despite all my disdain for a culture which has lived up to its stereotype, I am still its heir and as I grow older, embracing my birth right becomes more poignant.

I crave for kopi o today. Black and sweet as sin. And I enjoy it best every year, pour our with a ladle through a tapis into a beer stein to be enjoyed sitting on the floor, in the eye of a whirling chaos comprising of screaming children, gambling adults and an ambling pet dog.    

And like that kopi o, the chaos becomes tradition, to be taken for granted and willed to last forever until too soon it becomes a memory, which in time, would be come distant and romanticised.

This would be my first year without the familiar din. Its been about 10 months since the passing of my grandmother, the family matriarch and the centre than held everyone together. And as things fall apart, without the centre to hold, swirling satellites drift to find new orbits, keeping some of the old and creating new traditions of their own.

It is too soon for me to say whether I miss the rambunctiousness.  But I do miss her. And I fully appreciate the significance of tradition as a way of reaching across time and space to honour, remember and perhaps find a little comfort. 

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