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My Last Ang Bao

My Last Ang Bao

  • Culture
  • Food
Dad. Mum. My grandparents. This is what Chinese New Year has always meant to me. These days, it seems like with every year that we all get older, it just becomes a bigger and bigger affair. Cousins have gotten married, and some have started having kids. All of which is pretty awesome.

Even so, things feel a little different this year. I’m engaged now, so it’s my last year to feel like I’m not really an adult. To feel like I don’t really have responsibilities before I start dishing out the ang baos next year. Man, I’m going to be so broke.

Chinese New Year is so special for the things that never change. But for the younger generations, knowing why matters just as much.
I know we all like to say that giving always feels better than receiving. But this year, as I look around at everyone eating and laughing, I can’t help thinking about why we do what we do.

Take my aunts for example. Whenever Chinese New Year rolls around, it’s like they become different people. Don’t get me wrong. I love them. I really do. But they become these commanding matriarchs, these really passionate defenders of what to do and what to say, and we all just follow along.

It’s never occurred to me to even question any of this. Now, I can’t help wondering: When I eventually have my own kids, are they going to feel this way too?

Every year, we say the same well-wishes over Lo Hei. But do they mean the same things they used to?
No one needs to tell me that I do certain things because I’m Chinese. It’s just that there has to be more to this.

For a lot of us young adults today, it’s like we’re trapped between two worlds. On one side, we have all these progressions in contemporary culture pulling at us. There’s our relationship with technology, all these shifting priorities about careers and money, and questions about what the future holds.

To understand our culture and who we are, we must be pro-active in finding meaning in these traditions.
On the other, we’re trying to connect with our roots, but we’re confused by what it means to be Chinese. Here in Singapore, we still see ourselves as Singaporeans first. Our hobbies and our influences come from all over. But just because some things seem incompatible, doesn’t mean that we can’t bring them all together.

I've been saving this bottle of The Macallan Rare Cask for a special occasion such as this. We might lead different lives, but good whisky, amongst other things, brings us together.
Sometimes, gestures change, but the respect doesn’t.
With so many things happening around us today, maybe simple is still better. Maybe it doesn’t just have to be about what our older relatives say we should or shouldn’t do. Maybe all of us, whether young or old, have something we can bring to the table.

For some of us, it’s a new way of doing things. A new way of tasting familiar dishes. A new way of re-living old memories; of when Ah Gong still had a full head of rich, dark hair or when Mum still used to drag Dad to go sing karaoke. A new way of teaching our younger siblings that Chinese New Year belongs to them too.

Crafted to show complexity and depth, The Macallan Rare Cask is drawn from the broadest spectrum of casks (16 different types) ever identified by The Macallan Master Whisky Maker.

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RICE STAFF