CNY and how I survive it.

In the past weeks, many of us have been occupied with spring-cleaning, stocking up of goodies, getting new clothes, decorating our home, to get ready for Chinese New Year (CNY). Here in Singapore, the official two days public holidays correspond with the first two days of the lunar new year. As they fall on Friday and Saturday this year, we have the luxury of a long weekend for this festive holiday.

Typically during the CNY holiday, families would go about visiting relatives, starting with senior relatives as a gesture of respect and regard.

Over the years, I have grown to imagine myself as a local tourist during this time of the year. Instead of visiting places of interest, we are visiting places of relatives and friends. Being on the move can be both exciting and taxing. Yours truly have this list to make every CNY as fuss free as possible.

1. Red packets

You either give it out or receive it. Generally, married couples belong to the first group. If you are in this group, most likely you would have your new notes ready by now. Otherwise, you might still be able to do your last minute dash as follows.

DBS/POSB customers – Check out the Pop-up ATMs at your local Community Clubs. Please refer to link for details –

OCBC customers – You can check the indicative availability of notes before walking in the branches:

If you can, you should start filling in the red packets now. This way, you can have enough time to arrange, sort and do a final check before giving them out. Remember to pack extras and back ups. An awkward moment of not enough red packets to give out is the last thing you want your juniors to remember you for!

2. Plan your itinerary

Most of us have a regular to-visit list. Besides acknowledging the elders, we also look forward to catching up with other visiting relatives. Plan your schedule well so you do not miss the catch up and this would help make your short visit more enjoyable.

3. Plan your travel journey.

Whether you have just one relative to visit, or four to five relatives to go to, it is always good to plan out your route(s). This helps make travelling a breeze.

In today’s digital age, we have a variety of tools to help us find our way, such as Gothere and Moovit.

Travelling by public buses? You can make use of apps like SG Dr Bus, SG Bus Arrival Time, SG Buses, etc, which give you estimated arrival time of your next bus.

If you don’t mind breaking into a little sweat, you can also hop on bike sharing such as Ofobike, Mobike and Obike. Bear in mind that some providers require an initial deposit, so do check them out well beforehand.

If comfort and time is of essence, we can fall back on private car hire or sharing, such as Uber and Grab. Be prepared though, for the higher costs that come with the convenience.

Going to a relative’s place for the first time? It will be good to check with the host the way to get in there and out. Some estates may be new such that the online maps available are not yet updated. You wouldn’t want to follow the wrong directions and end up at the wrong place.

4. Take the weather with you.

Personally, I would not take for granted that our sunny island is fair all year round. We all have our own encounter of what’s like a cloudy morning, followed by warm afternoon and then a sudden downpour. Since we can hardly go against Mr Weather, we just have be ready for it. You will be good to have your sun shades and umbrella with you. And do put on the sunblock before making your way out!

5. Stick around for food.

The food I am referring to here, is not so much of the goodies, but the proper meals like lunch and dinner. Over the years, I have grown to overcome the shyness to stick around and learnt to embrace its beauty. Here’s why.

  • Most businesses are closed for the holiday. Even if they are open, you have to contend with limited choices and the queue of hungry diners like you. I have also come across hawkers who marked up their prices during this high-demand-low-supply period.
  • Having a meal together keeps you engaged with the host and other visitors, so you have more chance of interactions.
  • Nothing beats a home-cooked meal that is more nutritious and wholesome, and enjoyed in a communal setting.

So these 5 items make up my personal survival kit for CNY. They have served me well so far. What about you? Do you have a survival kit like this too?

Happy Lunar New Year to one and all!

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