My cousin Cheng sent me this sms on the 9th of January and I found it as I was just clearing my phone "inbox":
"A belated Happy New Year. Now that you have clocked 9 days, of which I hope have been meaningful, just want to offer 1 bit of advice; don't try too hard-sometimes it is not the destination but the journey. Go on and enjoy yrself b4 you become a crotchety old man."
Writing this post now on Chinese New Year today, we are one month and a week into 2008 and perhaps I am one month and a week nearer to becoming a crotchety old man! Whatever else happens this year, it is going to be a year of numerous "firsts". So far, it has been the first time in 23 years I did not usher in the new year with Jeannie, first time in 22 years I did not celebrate my birthday with her and today is the first time in 22 years we will not have her with us on Chinese New Year. Indeed the Reunion Dinner last night lost its flavour because CNY had always been so Mummy! We were in Genting since JJ is working there temporarily.
My first CNY with Jeannie was in 1986 and being the more traditional, she made all the decisions on the do's and don'ts. I was more than willing to follow. This CNY I am in a dilemma; who do I follow? Of course I know some of the prequisites but who is going to make the decisions within the decisions? Who else will it be indeed.
This is Krystyn Cheah's first Chinese New Year in charge. As expected, she has done an admirable job so far. My only contributions were money which was not the important part and advice that she should be able to tell between tradition, superstition, and religion; we are more into traditions.
Not only did Krystyn do the shopping for everybody, she also did her fact finding about how we should, or should not be doing things this Chinese New Year in view of Mummy's passing less than a year ago. For instance, the superstitious will not want us to visit them during CNY for fear that we bring bad joss. Similarly, I should not be giving out ang pows to non-family members but we can receive. Basically, it appears we should not even be celebrating CNY.
Seeing Krystyn at the helm, I watched as she recalled what Mummy used to do and not do, she consulted friends' parents and scoured the WWW when she sought common practices and rationale, she used her judgement with matters in the grey area and she made decisions with the confidence that belied her years and experience. I take comfort that from here on, traditions in our household will live on and though CNY now is without Jeannie, her beliefs will live on as part of Krystyn's own. It is Krystyn's watch now.