In the spirit of a fresh new ‘Spring’ (Chun), the blawg introduces you to a few fresh perspectives from our writers, on reunions, prosperity, and even on being ‘dragon’. Ha Wei Na, another new writer to the blawg, contemplates on the subtle differences of two different Chinese New Year experiences.

It was Chap Goh Mei two years ago. Outside my apartment window, the noise was deafening. Fireworks were going off relentlessly all day and night. The smell of gunpowder hung heavily in the air.

I’d just got back to Shanghai after spending two weeks with family over Chinese New Year. Everything was how I always remembered Chinese New Year to be. Reunion dinner on the eve. Visiting relatives on the first day. Hanging out with friends on the second. But the whole routine felt new this time. Familiar, yet strange. Like I was suddenly back in an alternate universe I once belonged to. Maybe living away from home did funny things to my head.

Shanghai lights up for the new Lunar year | Photo by EmmaJG via Flikr | Source:

I walked out into the winter night to meet my Malaysian friends for dinner. Someone arrived straight from the airport with Yee Sang from KL, and we tossed to prosperity and good health like we did a few thousand miles away, just days before. We shared stories about our trip home, our voices dripping with homesickness. But just as easily, we talked about our plans for the year, equally happy to back. In my new home away from home, they were like family to me.

All quiet on the Sea Park front | Photo by Roland Lim via Flikr | Source:

Fast forward to this Chinese New Year. That cold, winter Chap Goh Mei feels like a lifetime ago. I’ve been home in Malaysia for a year and a half now. And I’ll be seeing my friends from Shanghai for dinner when they get back for the holidays. Only this time, we’ll be eating in the still, quiet ghost town that is KL this time of year. No deafening fireworks or smell of gunpowder (unless you live in Cheras or Kepong for instance). And sweating buckets instead of hiding in our warm jackets.

Perhaps, nothing is ever quite the same even though the occasion may be so. Everything changes beneath the surface, all around, at every second. Me included.

(Featured image accompanying article on the main page courtesy of Kevin Dean, source:

Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Always curious. Always hungry. Has fantasies of becoming a kampung girl, and living off the fat of the land.

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