Chinese New Year joy


Chinese New Year (CNY) is an important occasion for the Indian-Chinese Tanasekar family to get together and celebrate.

"Though we are in a mixed-race marriage, we try to embrace each other's culture and traditions, especially when it comes to celebration of festivals," said Mr Tanasekar Suppiah, an entrepreneur.

"We particularly wanted our children to experience the right way in celebrating such festivals meaningfully with values and purpose."

The 54-year-old Indian is married to 46-year-old Marine Lim, a Chinese. The pair, along with their son Inesh, 20, and daughter Ilisha, 17, usually start the celebrations with a reunion dinner on the eve of CNY.

"There will be a steamboat with delicacies of steamed chicken and seafood," said Ms Lim, who runs a public relations company.

"After dinner, we will start prepping hongbao and sweets to fill up the CNY containers for our guests who will arrive the next day.

"We then stay up past midnight to be the first to wish each other 'Happy Chinese New Year'.

"There is also this belief that children who stay up during CNY eve actually help to earn longevity for their parents. It is a tradition practised by my parents and it has since been passed down."

Ms Lim, her husband and their children will then go to her Indian in-laws' house on the first day of CNY to wish them good health and prosperity.

They will then visit other relatives.

"We will also visit the Chinese temple and the Indian temple, especially the one located at Waterloo Street, to get blessings and pray for good health," said Ms Lim.

This year, because of the social distancing measures in place due to Covid-19, the Tanasekar family will not be hosting any CNY gatherings at home.

But they will still have the traditional family dinner and visit close relatives.

"My husband partakes in all the preparations and traditions of Chinese New Year with me and I am blessed that he takes it all in his stride - from the more intensive market trips to the long traffic jams to getting into nurseries and queuing to get into temples for blessings," said Ms Lim.

"He is good at it and sometimes he reminds me that I have to get certain things ready. He enjoys the process of doing things as a family. It also bonds the family through the spring-cleaning process, cooking, eating and decorating the house."

Mr Tanasekar said celebrating CNY is not much different from celebrating Indian festivals. "The preparation and actual celebration is more or less the same," he said. "We prepare good food, we gather with families and friends and visit temples to get blessings and pray for good health for all.

"My Indian relatives also join in the CNY celebrations and we exchange oranges. We also buy some of the CNY goodies for them to enjoy too during the festive period."


National cricket team player Navin Param too comes from a mixed-race family.

His father, Mr Sreerangam Paramanantham, 67, a consultant in the oil and gas industry, is an Indian, while his homemaker mother, Madam Choo Yoke May, 64, is Chinese.

"Usually we go to our maternal grandmother's house on the first day and celebrate," said Navin, 25, whose brothers Anish, 30, and Prasheen, 28, too are Singapore cricket international players.

"There will be lots of food and relatives and we will play mahjong. On the second day, we will have the Indian side of our family come to our house.

"There will be at least seven of them and we will have dinner along with sweet and sour fish."

"This year only my dad and mum will go to her brother's place because of the Covid-19 restrictions," he said.

"But we will have a CNY dinner at home."

It will include a new addition to the family - Ms Siti Rasyidah, 26, whom Mr Anish married recently.

The family will also have another reason to celebrate. Navin, who graduated from Nanyang Technological University with a degree in banking and finance, will soon start work.


Theatre personalities R. Chandran and Amy Cheng too usually celebrate CNY by "having family and friends over".

"The kick-off is usually a reunion meal with Amy's mother and her brother's family," said

Mr Chandran 65. "They are currently residing in Perth. Last year, our reunion was Down Under.

"We had to scrap the plan this year. So, it'll just be the four of us (including their sons Joshua, 23, and Jivan, 12).

"This year, we'll have to make do with my brother's family and sons' close friends coming in groups of no larger than eight - an auspicious number."

Mr Chandran, who makes it a point to dress in red or orange during CNY, added that they celebrate all their festivities with extended families on both sides.

"Even when Amy was away studying in Australia for a year, our boys and I continued the traditions diligently - leaving a light on in the house, no sweeping or cutting on the first day, stocking up on CNY munchies, remembering the hongbao payouts," he said.

"Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Christmas - we celebrate with gusto with their particular twists. We have all assimilated into one another's cultures the moment we came together - one for all and all for one." - Theatre personality R. Chandran


அதற்குள்ளாகவா? இந்தச் செய்திகளையும் படிக்கலாமே!

இந்தச் செய்திகளையும் படிக்கலாமே!