"February 3, 2011 The Business Times: CHINESE NEW YEAR SPECIAL - More going abroad for the holidays
THE Wee family celebrated Chinese New Year here last night with a traditional reunion dinner of abalone, shiitake mushrooms, and pig's trotters. This year, daughter Esther decided to skip the meal and go on holiday.
Singaporeans are skipping reunion dinners and packing flights as rising wealth and a stronger currency make trips abroad more affordable.
'My mum wasn't too happy when I told her my plans but she came round in the end,' said Esther Wee, a 32-year-old accountant, who is flying to Melbourne to meet friends for the four-day break. 'We booked the flights months ago when I got my bonus. Everyone has the same idea of going for a holiday.'
Singaporeans are skipping reunion dinners and packing flights of Singapore Airlines Ltd, Jetstar Asia Airways Pte, and AirAsia Bhd as rising wealth and a stronger currency make trips abroad more affordable in the Year of the Rabbit, which begins today.
Last year's record economic growth of 14.7 per cent created 112,500 new jobs and pushed up wages by an average 5 per cent in the first nine months."
In the CNY speech to the nation, the PM said it is important to preserve the traditional values and practices. I think he is fighting an uphill battle as this report indicated that more and more Singaporeans are abandoning the CNY tradition of keeping in touch with relatives whom they may see just once a year!!
Lessons for me are:
1. to each its own merit - some felt that it is superficial to keep in touch with relatives whom you meet only once a year while some felt that that one contact is critical to keep the link going. For some, it may trigger the urge to keep in touch MORE FREQUENTLY than current practices!;
2. for city dwellers, every public holidays declared for whatever traditional festivals are merely rest days to enjoy their hard earned money! The emotional attachment had been lost. The need to reflect and think about what it actually meant to be is best ignored since everyone has so many priorities in their busy lives now!;
3. will this be another lost tradition if the trend of the younger generations paying little heed to he call to preserve the old, and meaningful, tradition. I think it may well be. It is necessary for the PM and the authorities to continue to emphasize on the value of keeping the traditional way. Once you stop it, it may not return at all.
Happy Chinese New Year to all readers and may each of you decide that it is worth visiting the once-in-a-year relatives and their children during this festive season instead of being overseas for just another vacation! Hopefully your counter-parties also feel the same way about this tradition.
For me, it is meaningful to catch up. Like in this year, we found out that our niece and nephew actually know a friend or two of our youngest daughter. That is valuable as we allow the next generation of relatives keep the link!