Tra­di­tion and fam­ily

It’s all about tra­di­tion and fam­ily when ush­er­ing in the new year.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - by melinda looi

Gong Xi Fa Cai to ev­ery­one!

How time flies – it’s the year of the Horse al­ready! one of the ben­e­fits of be­ing Malaysian is that we love any and ev­ery rea­son to cel­e­brate, and keep our fes­tiv­i­ties go­ing for as long and as elab­o­rately as pos­si­ble.

Year af­ter year, my team and I have found our­selves swamped with work be­fore Chi­nese new Year, but I usu­ally man­age to fin­ish ev­ery­thing off in time for the ac­tual cel­e­bra­tions and take my long­est hol­i­day of the year at this time. Un­for­tu­nately, the Year of the Horse is not let­ting me rest ... I’ve had to con­tinue rac­ing un­til the eve of Chi­nese new Year, wel­com­ing many clients in­ter­ested in buy­ing their Chi­nese new Year out­fits from our MLxAC col­lec­tion. Even dur­ing th­ese first few days of the new Year, my staff and I have still been try­ing to fin­ish up work needed for all the fairs we will be vis­it­ing dur­ing our trip to Europe that be­gins on the first week of Fe­bru­ary (yes, this week!). I will be bid­ding Malaysia and all the cel­e­bra­tions bye-bye the day af­ter tomorrow.

As I just never have the time to get any­thing done be­fore the lu­nar new Year, I usu­ally end up do­ing some last-minute shop­ping for presents for fam­ily and friends. Luck­ily, many shops were still open be­fore the re­union din­ner in Kuala Lumpur on the eve of Chi­nese new Year.

one tra­di­tion I al­ways stick to with­out fail is pre­par­ing angpows to give to all the chil­dren and un­mar­ried adults. For some rea­son, this task al­ways falls upon the women. not that I am com­plain­ing, though, be­cause it is ac­tu­ally quite a fun ex­pe­ri­ence. I know some women who get a kick from smelling the new notes be­fore putting them into their en­velopes! As for the kids who re­ceive th­ese red pack­ets? Well, it’s just a bo­nanza for them, isn’t it? But I guess, like most things in life, this fol­lows its own cy­cle. Af­ter en­joy­ing their fair share of re­ceiv­ing, young ones to­day will even­tu­ally have to dish out the money!

on Chi­nese new Year eve, fam­i­lies have their long-awaited re­union din­ners and this year, we had another amaz­ing meal at Un­cle Cheong’s who’s fa­mous for his de­li­cious dishes. As per tra­di­tion, I pre­pared the ve­gan fruit Yee Sang. Af­ter din­ner, I took my kids to the tem­ple in Brick­fields to pray and make wishes. We also lit up an oil lamp for the Lueb­bert fam­ily and prayed for the best of health for ev­ery­one at home, es­pe­cially opa (the kids’ ger­man grand­fa­ther) who isn’t well at the mo­ment.

With all the stress of get­ting ready our col­lec­tion for the Euro­pean tour, I can hon­estly say I was not ready for the Chi­nese new Year celebration and de­cided to stick to a sim­ple celebration with the fam­ily. We first had a prayer at the tem­ple for my late grand­par­ents with their favourite black cof­fee from the

ma­mak store, and some of my Un­cle’s food. We then vis­ited my par­ents, af­ter which, Dirk had to rush back to ger­many. on the sec­ond day, I fol­lowed my par­ents and Un­cle Cheong to visit my only grandaunt – for the first time in over 20 years. We used to visit her ev­ery Chi­nese new Year when we were kids and af­ter see­ing her, I promised both her and my­self that I will visit her more of­ten, since she is our only Poh Poh (grandma) left.

She was ex­tremely happy to see my sis­ter, my three kids (who re­minded her of us as chil­dren) and I. She told us sto­ries about our grandma tak­ing us to visit her when we were very young, which made me miss my own grandma even more. It was lovely to spend qual­ity time with fam­ily whom we don’t of­ten see. So, de­spite not get­ting angpows, we still en­joyed our Chi­nese new Year thor­oughly!

Cel­e­bra­tions like this make us re­alise there re­ally is no sub­sti­tute for fam­ily, and see­ing ev­ery­one in good health made this new Year ex­tra re­ward­ing for me.

But back to work. our Europe trip will be­gin with a stop in Lon­don where we will be par­tic­i­pat­ing for the first time at the Pure Lon­don trade fair with our lat­est Au­tumn/Win­ter 2014 col­lec­tion. Hope­fully we’ll get to meet some new buy­ers and dis­trib­u­tors along the way.

Fol­low­ing Lon­don, we will travel to the White Mi­lano Show, in ... of course ... Mi­lan. I am so ex­cited, as this is my first trip to Mi­lan! I know, my dis­cov­ery of this mecca of fash­ion has come a bit late, but I am go­ing with an open mind and hop­ing to find some in­spi­ra­tion to bring home with me. I will def­i­nitely take a cou­ple of days off to get in as much sight-see­ing as I can, too.

My third stop will take me to the Mid­dle East; how­ever the ex­act dates are still pend­ing. Fin­gers crossed, I might be able to end my one-month trip in Paris! The itin­er­ary for my last stop in­cludes ei­ther the Tra­noi trade fair or a per­sonal view­ing with some in­ter­ested buy­ers. We have put lots of ef­fort into this trip and are pray­ing for the best. Stay tuned for the next ar­ti­cle for sto­ries on my ex­pe­ri­ences while on this ad­ven­ture!

Mean­while, gong Xi Fa Cai to every­body again. May great health and wealth be with you!

Award-win­ning fash­ion de­signer Melinda Looi tries to marry con­sumerism and ma­te­ri­al­ism with en­vi­ron­men­tal con­scious­ness. She be­lieves her great­est cre­ations are her chil­dren.

Fresh take: Melinda’s yeesang made from fruits.

Max, Melinda’s son, light­ing up an oil lamp for fam­ily at the tem­ple.

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