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10 Reasons I Hate Chinese New Year   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2014-11-26 16:53:04 |Display all floors
Do you like Chinese New Year? How do you agree or disagree with the following views?

I am well known for being positive and upbeat about life in China, but sometimes I just have to vent a little. This one is a special case, because when I first arrived in China I was thrilled to be celebrating the real Chinese New Year, withreal Chinese people, the authentic way. With each passing year my enthusiasm has faded just a bit more, until it became this colorless loathing for the alpha holiday of the Chinese calendar.

I suppose “hate” is a strong word, but let me just say I’m not fond of the ol’ CNY. (Still, I’m keeping the word “hate” because I’m so sassy.) So now I give you the 10 reasons I hate Chinese New Year, in the order that they come to me:

It’s noisy. Yeah, fireworks are fun. Yeah, the Chinese invented them. Yippee. I always thought the best fireworks were the bottle rockets that exploded midair in colorful displays. Well, here in China, the most common kind is firecrackers, or just any kind that isn’t much to look at but makes a lot of noise. This kind is fun in moderation, but “moderation” is entirely out of the question when CNY rolls around. We’re talking non-stop pili-pala (the sound of firecrackers) for days on end. What? You wanted to go to sleep? Too bad.What? You wanted to sleep in past 6am on your vacation? Too bad.

It’s dangerous. It should come as no surprise that an environment seething with explosions is not particularly safe. The Chinese aren’t exactly world-renowned for being “safety conscious,” either. If the public pyrotechnics everywhere weren’t bad enough, this is also the time of year when kids have firecrackers too, and they just go around lighting and throwing them at random.

It paralyzes the nation. Not being able to get a taxi or go to your favorite restaurant isn’t the end of the world (although, my regular Xinjiang restaurant, I do not forgive you for going back to Xinjiang for CNY an entire month early — I’m pretty sure you didn’t walk back). The problem comes when you try to do anything bureaucratic. Virtually nothing can be accomplished if CNY is even remotely near. It’s all a smile and a mei banfa(there’s nothing we can do). It’s an excuse that’s not only incontrovertible, but one you’re also supposed to be happy about it. You had better hope your visa doesn’t expire right before Chinese New Year, because you’d be screwed.

It encourages craptaculars. The Chinese New Year craptacular (春节联欢晚会) is the mother of all Chinese craptaculars. Watching it is not only a family tradition for many, many Chinese families; it almost seems like a patriotic duty. Year after year, I hear people saying, “the craptacular was crappier than ever this year,” and yet they watch it, year after year after year. This horrible TV tradition somehow imbedded itself in the nation’s cultural DNA, and the populace seems resigned to this.
It brings out overzealous hospitality. Chinese food is good. Eating is good. But Chinese hosts are infamous for “hospitably” force-feeding their guests, and this is the holiday when that impulse goes into overdrive. You can starve yourself for days, but it will do no good. As the old Chinese proverb goes, “even a large bucket cannot hold the sea.” (OK, I made that up, but it sure makes my point.)

It involves lots of Chinese liquor. I like Chinese food, but I will never like Chinese rice wine. This is one of those Chinese holidays where I have to buck up and just drink it. I’d be a dick if I refused. And man, it is nasty.

It causes temporal cognitive chaos. I’ve talked about this before. Around CNY, Chinese people refuse to use the solar calendar for a week or two and cognitively switch over to that alternative universe where the moondetermines the dates. If you don’t make the temporary crossover with them, you’re in for some serious calendar confusion.

It screws over the little guy. At Chinese New Year, everyone goes home to spend the holiday with their families. Oh wait, did I say “everyone”? I meant everyone except for the wage slaves that have to work in the restaurants for the New Year’s Eve dinner because the city folk don’t like to bother celebrating at home anymore. Oh, and except for drivers and operators of essential public transportation. The more commercialized the holiday becomes, the more people that get cheated out of it. This is nothing new to someone from a capitalist nation, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it when I see it happening anywhere.

It’s a mass migration the country can’t really handle. It really can’t. One of my co-workers from Guilin will not be spending the holiday with her family for the first time ever because she simply could not get a ticket home. She’s not the only one. It’s just way too many people trying to “go home” all at the same time. It’s the world’s largest human migration, and it’s only getting worse as more and more people move to the big cities to make a living. It’s one hell of a problem for the government, totally cultural in origin.

It’s serious pollution. Those fireworks are more than just noisy and dangerous; they’re bad for the environment. Keep in mind that in China there are way more people more densely packed than in the U.S.; the amount of fireworks going off in one night all across the nation is simply staggering. If China didn’t already have such a great handle on its environmental issues, I might be worried. (Oh, wait a minute…)

I have tried for years to warm up to Chinese New Year, but I have stopped trying. My conclusion is that if you didn’t experience Chinese New Year as a child, you’re not going to learn to like it. It’s an exciting holiday for a Chinese kid… you get to see all those fun cousins, eat lots of great food in ridiculous quantities, and receive ahongbao (red envelope full of cash) from all your relatives. As an adult cultural outsider, I really don’t think I have any hope of ever truly enjoying this holiday.

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Post time 2014-11-26 17:06:53 |Display all floors

Posted by: Kurt (IP Logged)

Date: October 06, 2009 11:06AM

Source : Original Post

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Post time 2014-11-26 17:56:49 |Display all floors
things are changing now. it will get better .

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Post time 2014-11-27 07:25:07 |Display all floors
The Chinese like 'over the top' at any time, but they really do go overboard on Lunar New Year. I agree that it is a hard time for drudge grunts - those in low-paying, non-prestigious positions, and for those with official business to conduct. Even exchanging money is a hassle.
But then, think of Christmas...
Already music 'for the season' is playing in stores. TV is showing 'the perfect gift' commercials. People are overspending and overeating. Very little reverence and a lot of aggravation.
Banks, post offices and government facilities are closed half of Saturday and all of Sunday, throughout the year AND on officially designated holidays. And drudge grunts don't get to go home,
So, when you think about schedule interruptions in China, picture the west: hyper-commercialism, less bureaucratic systems throughout the year, expanding waistlines from November to January...
Maybe blowing all of it out in one shot is not a bad idea. Perhaps Chinese New Year is not so bad.  
The journey IS the destination!

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Post time 2014-11-27 09:13:37 |Display all floors
the fireworks can be tough to handle. How do they afford to set off fireworks 24/7 for 2 weeks?
but i enjoy the drinking and eating....
if you want something in life get off your backside, and do it yourself!! don't rely on others to do it for you

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Post time 2014-11-27 18:59:12 |Display all floors
I love Chinese New Year, a great fun time for me :)

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Post time 2014-11-27 23:08:31 |Display all floors
This post was edited by BB_Cream at 2014-11-28 00:07

China has a big population, and as such, a big festive holiday is a huge problem to their many people living in cities and to people that run the government and municipal activities.

In some countries like Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Vietnam, firing of fire crackers is banned.

But it had reduced their celebrated festive moods in their festive holidays. Despite the ban, in some parts of villages in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam, the firing of fire-crackers still happens.   

People in those countries whom had not have a chance of enjoying their festive time of firing of fire crackers would obviously like to have the ban be lifted or restrcition reverted.

But, seriously speaking, the problem of noise and discriminate throwing of lighted fire crackers by people from their homes in tall buildings and their throwing at passers-by and bystanders were a nuisance to others.
Because of this, in one country, Singapore, some 30 years ago, they banned the firing of fire crackers except at some designated public open car-parks that were created for the specific purpose of those people who wish to play with the firing of fire-crackers.

The permitted time for their firing of fire crackers in the open car-parks was between 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm. During these times, cars in the public car-parks have to vacate them and can return only after 11pm.

This is when after the car parks had been cleaned of its debris by their contract cleaners who have to standby ready for their cleaning when the time for the firing of fire crackers had expired.

When the expiry time comes, a few policemen and a police car deployed will be there waiting to chase away those people, and to arrest them if they break the law in continuing with their firing of fire crackers afte the expiry time.

During the permitted times of firing of fire-crackers, the government had some public housing officers and community neighbourhood watch group deployed to keep an eye on the peopel playing with fire-crackers on the open carparks.

They will call ambulances if they had injured themselves. They will call the police if there were fights or injuries caused to persons and other private and public facilities.

However, the excitement of having a designated open car parks for their firing of fire crackers have lost its touch and  fun, when people have to walk from their homes at a particular long distance to a specified car park for their firing of fire cracker activity.

However, even given the restricted area for the people to fire their fire crackers, the enjoyment of firing of fire crackers had waned and eventually it lost its public interests for it.

In following Chinese New Year,  the government found these designated car-parks for the firing of fire-crackers had been emptied of people.

Their feedback and survey showed most people of parents had particularly disliked in not able to see to their children's safety when their children have to walk far away from their homes to play with their fire-crackers.

The parents also find themselves stressful in having to accompany their young children in walking at great distances to a car-park that is isolated away from their homes. They found it a hassle to go to great distances from their homes to just play with their children in the firing of fire-crackers.

Eventually, most of the designated car parks were empty, and firing of crackers had waned, and then their interests stopped totally.

Eventually, the long chain of plastic-kinds of fire crackers were introduced but it was not suitable for the children to play with, except for businesses, etc.,

Even now, the use of plastic-kind of fire-crackers would still need a police licence to use them, too. But even then this is not even used by businesses anymore, as it is out of fashion for them in Singapore.   

However, fire crackers were completely banned, and sales are not allowed in Singapore. The atmosphere of Chinese New Year had since gone forever. Nowadays, Chinese New Year in Singapore is treated like a rest day of another public holiday on the calendar.     


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