Chinese New Year needs to stop
What festivals should do: bring people together and feel family warmth.
What Chinese New Year does: all kids love it because of the lai see money; all parents hating it because of the lai see money. Parents with only one child suddenly hate their relatives with more children because the lai see money. Neighbours feel awkward meeting each other because of the lai see money (but they must be around because it is a public holiday and they are supposed to go out visit their relatives). Nobody wants to leave the house unless necessary. Extreme cases: parents stay at home and let their kids play outside alone so that the kid can collect lai see money and the parents do not have to give out any. Everyone is suddenly awkward and angry BECAUSE OF THE LAI SEE MONEY.
WHO. INVENTED. LAI SEE.
What Chinese New Year was for: for farming villagers to take a break after a year of work and have a decent meal. Could be one of the few times where children could have meat
What Chinese New Year is now for: comparison of wealth and relationship statuses. This was ok for old Chinese villages because everyone knows each other in a village, but this is NOT working for the modern society, where a big family is broken into smaller families.
Romantic relationships are the business between two people, but Chinese romantic relationships are the business of two people, and oh I forgot to mention, an annoying package of unwanted relatives. Ok, things may not be that bad all the time, but it is that bad most of the time.
So, in Chinese New Year meetings, all the relatives who don’t genuinely care for each other are squeezed together in a room. And all of them have to pretend to care for each other. The only thing they can do is questioning people about their lives. You can imagine how bad it is.
Then came the worst part: all the questions are asked, all the lai see are handed out, and nobody talks to nobody. The elderly sit in the sofa and watch the one TV channel we have in Hong Kong. The TV channel is playing a “Chinese New Year programme” where the actors and actresses need to put on a pair of pants as fast as possible to win a cash prize. The youngsters also sit in the sofa, but they are fiddling with their phones and iPads (all hail technology that saves us from talking). Middle-aged men produced the only noises playing pokers on the other side of the room. Half of the women are asleep.
I know we can’t cancel Chinese New Year. But really, can we????