Truly Thankful this Chinese New Year

Updated: Jan 27



My hope for a family Chinese New Year reunion was dashed in 2020. I had to wait for more than 2 years to celebrate it again with my father.


You see, my father is a full-time missionary based in Chiang Mai. He was able to come back home at least once every 2 months and he made every effort to do so during the Chinese New Year period. Unfortunately, his homecoming was halted when COVID hit the region, resulting in the closure of borders. I have not seen him in person for more than 2 years - until he came home just a few days ago.


That left me to wonder… have we taken our ability to spend time with our loved ones for granted? Do we really know that every moment together is so precious?

For the past two years, my family reunion had always been a letdown. When others get together to celebrate, I can only watch with sadness thinking about my father. I tried to convince myself that I am “okay” with his absence but it is so difficult to do so.


I recognise that I am not the only one in this predicament. Many families, too, have been separated (and probably still are) due to the exasperating challenges that the pandemic brought. Many Malaysians were stuck in Singapore and could not celebrate Chinese New Year with their extended family. Similarly, many Singaporeans were also stuck in a foreign country with heavy hearts as they tried ways and means to find alternative passage to come back home to celebrate Chinese New Year.


Like many of these people, during this period of time when I was unable to physically celebrate Chinese New Year with my father, something awakened in me. I realised how much I missed my father. Many times we take for granted family gatherings during Chinese New Years, complaining about superficial conversations with distant relatives or about how much angbaos we received from our relatives.


But have we ever taken the initiative to go beyond all these - to engage in deeper conversations with one another?

I am thankful that the Singapore government has relaxed its travel regulations so slightly that my father could come back just in time to usher in the Chinese New Year with us as a family. Imagine if that was not possible, I would not be able to celebrate Chinese New Year with my father and would not know how much longer we have to be separated.


I am truly thankful.


满心感恩的农历年


我没有料到过了2020的农历新年后,我将会有两年没有机会见到爸爸。这都是因为冠状病毒 (COVID-19)在全世界的传染。


我的爸爸是一位传教士,全年留在泰国的清迈服侍,即使是这样,他都会安排每两个月回家和我们同聚,更何况是农历新年期间。但是当边界因为冠状病毒 (COVID-19)疫情关闭后,我要等两年后才和他再见。



这让我深思,我是不是把和至亲人相处的机会视为理所当然?


在过去的两年里,我们的团年饭都少了一个人。当我看见表兄弟和他们的父亲时,我都会尽量安慰自己我已经习惯了爸爸不在家。


其实不止是我的情况这样,很多家庭也在经历与亲人分隔两地,有很多在新加坡工作的马国人也不能回家。同样的, 在世界各国的新加坡人也只能停留在国外,等待疫情缓和后和家人团聚。


在新年期间必定的项目是和亲朋好友一起聊天和聚餐,我突然发现我真的很怀念爸爸,也联想到和亲人聚会的时候,我没有珍惜和大家见面的机会,甚至对无聊的谈话发牢骚,也对收到的红包钱感到不满意。


我们该问自己,有没有主动和亲友们真心交谈?

我感谢新加坡政府稍微放宽出入边境的政策,让我爸爸能够回家一起团聚,要不然, 真不知道我们要再等多久才能见面!


我很感恩。


This article was written by Mishael Lee, an intern at PPS.