10 Reasons not to travel during Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year in Tibetan Land, India

This blog encourages people to travel, but the author feels that travelling during Chinese New Year should not happen, especially if you’re a Chinese. The author has been there and done that and as a result, wasn’t as lucky and blessed as she thinks she should be. Below are 10 great reasons not to travel during Chinese New Year, and even if you have to, be sure to partake in that reunion dinner before you go!

1. Air Tickets are expensive
Unless you are travelling to exotic destinations such as Myanmar, Sri Lanka or Africa, the prices of air tickets are bound to rise during the festive period. This can be attributed to Foreign talents returning for a quick reunion with their families, or to kiasu Singaporeans using this opportunity to maximise the long weekend for an extended holiday with a love one. Travelling with a herd thinking will result in you paying more than you should for an air ticket. Airports are crowded, Bangkok will be congested with enemies and people you want to avoid, so steer clear at all times.

2. You will meet the very people you try to avoid
Planning to avoid that naggy aunty who has been hounding at you to find a mate and get married? Chances are, you might meet at the airport, or bump into her at Platinum Shopping Mall in Bangkok carrying bags full of shopping spoils.

3. You save/ lose out on Ang Pao
If you’re married, you save $$$. If you are single, you lose $$$. If you have kids, you can gain Ang Pao back. In 2 out of the 3 cases, it is a net gain.

4. You will miss out on free Pineapple Tarts, Bak Kwa and Almond Cookies, and Tiger beer
I suppose you can indulge in these after you return from your trip, but by then, the festive mood will all be over, and you will feel GUILTY partaking in these seemingly “unhealthy food”.

5. You will lose chances to hone your EQ
When coming across relatives that you see once a year, comments about their physique, looks and dressing must be accorded with some sensitivity. And there is no better way to practice that. Attempt to be your aunty’s favourite relative and you could go home with a box full of bakkwa. Other than that, practice deflecting questions about girlfriend/boyfriend and marriage proposals with ease. Reversing the arrow would show true skill.

6. You will appease The Parents
Any traditional Chinese Parents would like their kids to pay the necessary tributes during Chinese New Year. To avoid unwanted nagging and bugging, performing your yearly duties could warrant you a bigger ang pao, and give them some “face” when relatives come to visit.

7. You will lose the chance to show off
If you’re a banker, oil rigger or some kind of money minded creature, Chinese New Year is a great opportunity to show off on your 20% pay increase, x12 months bonuses, as well as the 20% increase in the stock price you have so fortunately purchased. Try to take a picture of the furrowing brow on your relative’s darkening face – but do remember, your ang pao will never be the same again.

8. You will miss the chance to gossip
If you’re on the other side table, feeling very annoyed and irritated by that oil rig relative that you have, there is no harm with adding a dollop of black pepper to his shark fin soup. When you’re done with your revenge, proceed to convince your other relatives how pesky he is, and how you would love to kick him out of your house. If possible, rig the mahjong tiles in your house. After all, his 20% pay increase will be able to well pay for his losses ūüėČ

9. You will lose the chance to network
If you are a real estate agent or insurance salesman, I cannot stress how important are Chinese New Years. Convince your ignorant relatives that the recent cooling measures are good for them, (if you’re Malaysian, proceed to get them to buy more property in Iskandar Malaysia). If you’re an insurance salesman, convince them that their policy for kids is not sufficient. If you’re single, it could be an opportunity to meet pretty girls. After all, you would never know – that your pimply long distance cousin may have blossomed into a hot model.

10. It differs from person to person, but you will tend to feel lonely at some point during your travels
I have been away during Chinese New Year on a solo trip to India last year, and it’s not the most joyous of all occasions. I remember feeling very lonely, not because there was no festive atmosphere at all in India, but because I was without the company of my friends and family. In the end, I decided I rather stay in Singapore to receive the warmth and blessings from friends, family and even from relatives that I meet only once a year.

I have been away during Chinese New Year on a solo trip to India last year, and it’s not the most joyous of all occasions. I remember feeling very lonely, not because there was no festive atmosphere at all in India, but because I was without the company of my friends and family. In the end, I decided I rather stay in Singapore to receive the warmth and blessings from friends, family and even from relatives that I meet only once a year.

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Chinese New Year to me will always be about generosity.  The relatives on my mother side are not well-off, but they have always welcomed us to their four room/ three room abodes with open arms. It may be a little congested and uncomfortable sitting on tiny, foldable chairs  in front of the TV, but I will always remember the moment where I tried to balance a plastic plate filled with food on one hand, and a can of soft drink on a coffee table which is thoroughly filled with pineapple tarts and jars of tiny crispy prawn rolls.

What I like best is to watch these afternoon matinees at my relative’s house featuring dated Chinese love/ CNY movies. Stuff like Stephen Chow movies or Infernal Affairs allow me to pass time and relax, without worrying that I should be spending my holiday on more useful things (like blogging haha). I also like to indulge in bak kwa and beer at the same time, which is not the most healthy option. A friend attests to swapping the beer for wine. It’s more healthy and goes well together too : )

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