Confession time: celebrating Chinese New Year in the 21st century comes with some first-world challenges. While Singaporeans have generally been raised to respect various Chinese New Year customs and practices, times have since changed! Many find themselves torn between wanting to uphold traditions while staying true to their own personal beliefs, priorities and identities.
So here's an updated Chinese New Year survival guide for the modern #realsmallproblems Singaporeans face during this season:
1. When You Can't Get Your Hands on Enough New Banknotes
Queueing for ages at the bank and in some cases, trying to find a branch that has not run our of new banknotes - these are all part of the yearly struggle of trying to get your red packets settled and ready.
Plus, with the growing importance of going green, some may grapple with the idea of paper wastage. So solve all your problems with one simple solution: e-red packets. With more banks offering this service, it's easy to go digital - there are even loadable QR red packets now!
2. When You're Too Tired to Spring Clean
Spring cleaning is a traditional Chinese New Year Ritual. But if there's one thing adulting has taught anyone, it's the sheer amount of energy and effort that goes into maintaining a clean and tidy home.
The struggle is real when you're home after a long day of work, and are too exhausted to clean. But with Chinese New Year round the corner, there's simply no time to procrastinate anymore. The answer? Engage a cleaning service for a one-off cleaning job just before the Chinese New Year festivities. These usually charge by hour, usually in a range of $20-$50 per hour (depending on the services you require), or charge a one-off hire fee that may work out to be more costly. Do note that many will charge an agency fee on top of it, so be careful to do your research before choosing one to hire.
3. When You Need A Modern Update of Traditional Home Decor
Chinese New Year just wouldn't be complete without the classic home decorations: the splashes of red, paper couplets, cutouts of auspicious symbols and pussy willows. But today, with many homeowners opting for a contemporary and clean aesthetic, it's not easy to find a balance.
There are some easy ways to make red the main colour of the day, without going overboard and looking garish. Select some tasteful centerpieces to anchor the aesthetic of your living room - eg: a simple red vase on the living room table, adding red peonies or red candles in glass holders. You can even get crafty and fold paper flowers or use red paper pom poms for more festive vibes!
Alternatively, try finding creative ways to incorporate complementary festive colours in subtle, elegant ways: bronze or gold cushion covers or even buying a few orange and yellow mugs can go a long way in contributing to the festive mood at home.
4. When You Want To Shush Nosy Relatives Without Being Rude
This unspoken ritual of the Chinese New Year festivities is often joked about for good reason - it's a common scenario faced by practically everyone!
Keep calm and handle probing questions and unwelcome comments with grace and politeness. After all, it just shows they care. A great strategy is to redirect the question ("No, I'm not seeing anyone but I think Second Cousin is!") or simply answer the question with another question - for example when someone asks if you're planning to have kids, save yourself with a "Oh, have you seen that video on Facebook of that really cute kid?" Another great way to defuse tension from an insensitive comment is humour. Bonus points if you can squeeze in a compliment to disarm them! ("How to not put on weight when your cooking tastes this good?")
A huge part of Chinese New Year celebrations take place in our houses and is a time of love, laughter, reunion and joy. So, don't let the #realsmallproblems (or the big ones) prevent you from enjoying this special time of the year. Gift your loved ones and yourself with Enhanced HomePlus®, which comes with extensive coverage for everything that matters - from your house furnishings to even your furry friends. Find out more here!