I woke up this morning and forgot to put on a red shirt. In this land where Chinese New Year is such an isolated celebration, the closest hint of this festival that I’ve grown up celebrating my entire life is a Chinese New Year themed night at one of the cafes, which I know will probably have egg rolls, dumplings, some stir fry which has broccoli, carrots and chicken in it and everything that American Chinese food is, but a far stretch from what real Chinese food is.
There are many things about my home life that I wish I could share with my friends here in the States, as they are intrinsically a part of me and have shaped me into who I am. I feel that if my closest friends here are left to understand me without that background knowledge, it would not work out very well. Yet there is only so much you can do through videos, movies and pictures. All these things are simply discounted objects of the real experience and my heart longs people who are very dear to me to understand my growing up experiences as it is a part of getting to know me better as a person.
I must admit that I think I am already on the road to becoming “one of those people” who forget their home and roots and I’m terrified at that thought as it is not only frowned upon but it is also genuinely heartbreaking. I do not want to go further down that road and right now I’m working hard on constantly looking back while taking in everything that is physically around me, in hopes that one day I will finally bring both of my worlds together in harmony. This is an invitation to slap me, if there’s a need to, so that I will never forget and neglect my home.
This is also an invitation to my friends who are far from my home to get to know me better beyond how I carry myself in this foreign land because there is so much more than what it appears to me and I want to hold on to that.
Alas, no one says it better than Yasmin Ahmad.
I’m having an intense craving for nga ku and wong lai tart. Save some for me!
PS: I’m aware that this isn’t a very carefully crafted and rather self-centered post but I wanted to share something about this festival and I’m running out of time. Yay to mediocrity!