Gong Xi Fa Cai

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While Christmas may not have been that big of a deal in Malaysia, January brought our first Chinese New Year in Asia and what a big event it is.  Images of the festive season abound: red lanterns, an abundance of oranges, red envelopes (aung pao), firecrackers, McDonalds prosperity meals.  We all perfected our pronunciation of “Gong Xi Fa Cai” and prepared for the influx of people into Ipoh.  Chinese New Year seems to be the biggest holiday in Malaysia and there are two public holidays at the beginning of the new year and many businesses close for the whole week.  Chinese New Year is an important family time and people travel to their “kampong” to spend time with family.  As a result, Ipoh swells with people coming home to see family and large cities like Kuala Lumpur are left almost empty.  We took advantages of this and chose to escape busy Ipoh for the weekend in favour of quiet KL.

2012 has brought the year of the dragon which is the most auspicious year of the calendar.  It has been a truly interesting cultural experience to be in Malaysia for the new year.  There is a really festive feeling around that you can’t help being swept up in.  We got to experience our first Dragon Dance at the clubhouse in our community. We were serenaded nightly around midnight for almost a week by fireworks and firecrackers on our street (not so great for the kids trying to sleep).

We are off to Bali later this week for a nice 10 day family vacation.  We are hoping they actually let Paul on the plane this time:)


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