Moments from the new year

luck

It’s supposed to be a bright year ahead for those born in the year of the Snake. Zodiac predictions proffer luck, romance and windfalls, but the only promise I want fulfilled is the adventure of change and new beginnings, with the courage and speed to power through. In a spur of the moment I went for an interview last wednesday. The next day, I found myself armed with the job and a plan for the year ahead, and you talked with me about buying a house.

It feels like the future is here. Some days I resent it for feeling like it’s not going to stop for any movie afternoons or book nights, not going to give me any comfort about my thesis draft deadline which is in exactly a month. On the other hand, some days it feels like — bring it on, bring me to the next stage of a butterfly’s life cycle, amaze me, move me, take me any way you like. All I can think about are these lines from Go to the Limits of your Longing by Rainer Maria Rilke: let everything happen to you / beauty and terror / just keep going/ no feeling is final

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Standard. Reunion dinner steamboat, my grandparents lovingly fussing and offering us drinks, then oranges, then ice cream — easy, comfortable chaos. Then, day one breakfast of peanut porridge, yam cake, glutinous rice at Kent Road. We move on to our grandaunt’s place later for bowls of chap chye, and sweet drinks in the same crystal glasses with the pewter saucers we’ve been drinking out of for twenty years. This year, mostly thanks to new media and age I feel a bit closer to my cousins, and our cousin Jason is visiting from Scotland all on his own. I watch him in conversation with relative after relative, the occasional friend, and think about how brave he is to fly solo on such a mammoth, potentially intimidating holiday.

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Alex and I with our handsome dad, a gentle warrior at 50. My parents continue to amaze and surprise us with their sartorial choices. My mum looked gorgeous in a cream cheongsam with peonies this year, and my dad wore some slim cut dark, dark jeans. They both don’t fancy our usual shopping habits very much either, but that got turned around real quick when they encouraged us to go out and find all the necessary happy/red/kumquat-coloured components for a complete CNY wardrobe. We’re talking top level dress code commitment here, people.

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Reunited with my sisters this year for cny. The night before, we played blackjack on my bed, using multicolour plastic beetles, elephants and deer as our kuti kuti gambling chips. Overslept the next morning, hugged our parents and received our angpows with our hair slightly stringy and damp. Throughout the day Alex and I mouth the lyrics to Beyonce’s Love on Top and do micro versions of the dance moves, and sing if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it over and over, slumped on the couch with our little cousin, tummies filled with lou hei crackers, shredded radish and slivers of raw salmon…is there any other way to say, blissed out?

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