I used to perceive Chinese New Year (CNY) as a time to make up for lost sleep. Having mapped out my life purpose, these days I regard CNY as the opportunity to live up to being me. Here are the reasons why this is so:
A time to take a respite from my entrepreneurial overdrive
Too much of a good thing cannot be that good, as we know. While I do not apologise for my leaning towards career, I do accede that distance makes the heart grow fonder. At CNY, I take the natural course. Let rituals and customs take the driver seat. I relish in chilling out. Chilling out does not seem too remote to me anyway. We have harboured the dream of being a beach bum some time in our life. Why not live it up for a few days a year to begin with?
A time to be a family man for a longer stretch
It is not as if I forget my role as father, husband, son and brother at other times. It is just that with half my time away from home, social media is about the best I could do while clearing immigration, catching the fast rail, moving from one meeting to the other, or just before hitting the sack. At CNY, I drive around a lot more. Driving my family around makes me a willing captive. Since I am captive, I might as well be proactive in catching up on my family members' lives. I have come to realise that active listening is a joy, a nice departure from doing the talking all by myself. After all, this is the family that I was born in; this is my family and blood ties never dies.
A time to be the friend that I was
Almost without fail, CNY has been a time to catch up with friends. How much more palatable it is to catch up on old times at a joyous occasion like CNY than at wakes upon the sudden demise of a dear friend. At my age, the more we meet (or don’t), the less we will. “见一面，少一面”. We all have CNY to thank for bringing old friends' tireless chatter into the same room.
A time to enjoy the community
I have been the ever-absent Neighbourhood Committee member. My fellow members might have thought that I exist in WhatsApp only. This CNY, I am glad to make an appearance at a community event. Although I am hardly distinguishable from the crowd, I make the effort to be part of the action. And I can see that the first step is leading to the second, and the third. No man is an island. The community makes me feel alive when I am back from my travels. It makes me feel assured of my family's safety when I am away.
A time to thank God
God works in wondrous ways. He lets us be so different, yet so similar at CNY. We eat the same snacks, hear the same songs and laugh over the same old photographs of CNY gatherings past. This is a time to feel especially spiritual. We are spiritual beings after all.
I know CNY will be behind us soon, leaving the raucous lo-hei behind as I hop from airports to airports and meetings to meetings. May I suggest that we keep the memory of CNY beating in our hearts every day as we go about our lives and living out our life purpose, so that deep in us there will be constant longings to:
1. Be the best face for Singapore
I hear good things about Singapore outside of Singapore ever so often and every time I will smile proudly. I shall tell a story about Singapore every time I hear good things about our nation and I shall tell two stories if I hear a bad remark about us.
2. Be the surest help to our family and friends
People may outgrow one another but family and friends are for life. Even as our lives run out, the memories of our family and friends stay with us. Cherish them in every airport we fly to; think of where they could be; say a prayer for them. For our lives would not have been complete without them.
3. Be the change we want to see in the world.
Let every CNY be a reminder, and a milestone.
Happy Year of the Ram, everyone! Happy scaling new heights!