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