Feb 20

The 3 Cs of Chinese New Year

Speaker: Clement Chio


Good evening..
What type of horses only go out at night?
(Nightmares!)What did the pony say when it had a sore throat?
(I’m a little hoarse!)Why did the boy stand behind the horse?
(He thought he might get a kick out of it!)

What do you call a horse that lives next door?
(A neigh-bor!)

Have you had enough of Horse jokes?

Great, because if I tell anymore either all of you or myself will end up in a Horsepital.
Hey don’t blame me!
Blame toastmasters.. The manual required me to start off my speech with a joke.
I started with Four!
Which is an… Horsepicious number!
But yes, I’m pretty sure all of you know what I’m going to talk about – Chinese New Year.
These are the standard phrases we greet our friends and relatives over the new year.. All of them wishing prosperity and lots of money.
Which makes me wonder sometimes if I’m really Chinese..
Because I’m still, very, poor.
Hmm hey. Black hair, check.
Small eyes, check.
Yellow skin, check.
And a short… surname.
Yep, I’m pretty sure I’m Chinese.
(What were you thinking?)
And because I’m Clement Chio the Chinese, I’m going to summarize every Chinese New Year experience so far in my past 30 years into 3Cs.
The first C is definitely Customs.
One of the customs that all of us love most is the receiving of Red Packets, or Ang Baos.
Why? Because Red Packets are a symbol of good luck and receiving more of them means we will get more luck for the rest of the year. That’s why we love them!
Hah. Who are we kidding? It’s because of what’s INSIDE the Red Packet that we love – Toto tickets.
And Cash. Because it’s always exciting to guess how much you’d receive in that beautiful Red Packet.
Because there’s just NO guidelines! People can give as much as they want!
Until they came up with this.
CNY Ang Pao Rate Card
Whoever came up with this:
Another notable custom of Chinese New Year is visiting.
Oh, the joys of visiting.
It’s the one time of the year that you get to meet your grandmother’s sister’s daughter’s son-in-law’s uncle and his 7 children all at once!
Don’t you just love it?
I remember walking into my Aunt’s place on the first day of Chinese New Year and enthusiastically shook hands with a total of 25 people wishing them Gong Xi Fa Cai and I didn’t even know who all of them were!
And with 25 nosey relatives, I had to be on guard to handle a torrent of questions hurled my way.
When are you getting married ah?
Got girlfriend or not?
What are you doing now?
How high is your salary?
Why you so fat?
Why you eat so much?
Why are you asking so many questionnnnsss?
That brings me to the next C of Chinese New Year: Contradictions.
Well, you see, CNY is when you get to meet relatives you don’t get to meet often throughout the year.
So it’s only out of concern that your relatives will want to get to know you better, by asking questions!
But now, we even get guides on how to answer all these nosey questions, or Calm Comebacks.
Chinese New Year Calm Comebacks
So, to answer or not to answer?
To take questions as concerns or irritants?
It’s surely contradictory.
One of the best things about Chinese New Year are definitely the goodies.
Oooh, the soft pineapple tarts, tender barbecued pork (or ba kwa), crispy prawn rolls all delectable foods which we won’t get to savour in other times of the year.
Then someone had to come up with this:
CNY Calorie Count
Whoever came up with this is telling us if we want to eat indiscriminately we’d need to sign up for the next 12 marathons and marry your gym instructor.
To restrain or to run 12 marathons?
Isn’t this contradictory?
Well, everything I’ve showed you in the past few minutes brings out the next C of CNY: Creativity.
How many of you have received the following greetings via Whatsapp or Email?
It’s amazing how many Horse puns, in both English and Mandarin, our friends plagiarise as their own.
All in all, Chinese New Year is certainly a period of Cultures, Contradictions and Creativity.
It’s also fills the otherwise boring Singapore mood with lotsa of festivity, fortune, fun and fat people
Because this is one time of the year where you’re forced to do things you don’t get to do normal like receiving Ang Paos, wolfing lotsa New year Goodies and listening to Setia GongXiGongXi 50 times a day on all day all channels on National TV
And in the spirit of Corny Horse puns,
Happy New Year

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