My Chinese New Year experience in Singapore

I have been living in Singapore for about six years now, and every Chinese New Year, I get to see and experience how they celebrate the said occasion.

Chinese celebrates New Year for 15 days. For some Chinese people who come from China, Brunei, Indonesia, or Malaysia, they go back to their home countries to celebrate Chinese New Year with their families. Others opt to stay in Singapore and celebrate with their friends.

On my first year in Singapore, people advised me to purchase a lot of food that could last for two or three days since most establishments would be close on these days and resume operation after Chinese New Year. They told me to visit Chinatown to see grand decorations and feel the celebration.

On Chinese New Year, I would also receive a hong bao or red packet or envelope from my Chinese colleague/friend. In the red packet, even numbers of money should be put. For example, it should have $2, $4, $6, etc inside the pocket. These numbers mean “good luck” for Chinese. The red packet is only given to single people. When a person is already married, he/she should receive Mandarin oranges. The same rule applies! When giving Mandarin oranges, it should also be even numbers. And why orange not grapes or any fruit? Because “orange” sounds like the Hokkien word for “good fortune”.

I had a funny anecdote on giving oranges. I wanted to give the best “orange” to my best Chinese friend (whom I considered as my mother in Singapore). So, I bought the most expensive orange, which is the “real orange” for me. I was so proud to give her the “best orange”! After giving her, she asked why I gave her Western orange, it should be the Mandarin orange. I kept laughing at that time, then I told myself, “Now, I know!”… 🙂

Those are only some of the traditions I observed and experienced regarding how they celebrate Chinese New Year here in Singapore. How about you?



Introspection: The key step in making new years’ resolution

Introspection is examining our self and analyzing how our thinking and actions affect us and others. New Year is the time for making resolutions. Before we make our new year’s resolution, we need to introspect what we have been doing the previous year.

I would like to share with you the Wheel of Life below.


This Wheel of Life is from my favorite book “Be. Do. Live.” by Rajeev Dewan. I purchased this book in year 2009.

In our adult years, we are busy juggling multiple areas of our life such as career, family, finances, relationships, health and many others. As we introspect, we will discover that there are areas in our life that are doing great and there are other areas that are not doing well. If we want all areas of our life to do well, then we need to make a course of action:

  1. Assess. The Wheel of Life above will help us. We have to determine the areas of our life that matters to us and write down what we have been doing on those areas. Identify which area of our life needs more attention. Is it Finances? Is it Relationship? Is it Career?
  2. Plan. Set a goal. Make sure the goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. List down the actions that will be taken towards the achievement of our goals.
  3. Act. Make your plan happen. Take action. Then from time to time, refer again to our Wheel of Life to find out whether we are moving towards the achievement of our goal.

Happy New Year!