Feb 9, 2017

Probabilities Within Red Packets

As much as I want to live in the present, I would always find myself hovering over the memories of my past or dreaming of the infinite probabilities of how my future would be. Fortunately, I have kinda tied a beautiful knot to the memories of Permata and have moved on to face the fact that I am in a place very different from Permata. By the end of 2016, I have discovered that there is no point to compare KY to Permata; it is incomparable and if I insist on doing so, I'll end up killing myself by abandoning my current responsibilities: A Levels.

When I stopped comparing, that was when I find the warmth of KY friends which I had overlooked for the past year. The rigidity and intensity of A Levels drown me but friends and families save me from sinking. And perhaps I should thank myself too for developing this final mentality which now serves as an invaluable gift from living life.

Okay, so that was about the past. I thought I would have readily set myself to live in the present. But nah, A LEVELS.

I am living in the present but most of the times, the purpose is for the future. I find myself doing past year papers not because I need to do it now, but because it is a part of preparation for my imminent A Level exams. To be frank, I changed quite a lot of my old habits (that includes napping!) to maximise my efficiency to study. To give a quantitative evidence, the amount of past year papers I have done for the past month exceeds the past year papers I have willingly (excluding the ones given by teachers as homework) done for my entire life! I can imagine the old me laughing at how hard I am working now but sod it, I have to pass YK's requirements. I can't bear to see my parents paying YK a freaking huge sum of money for my failures.

Actually I wanted to talk about this year's Chinese New Year celebration... but apparently, I have deviated quite far, though not irrelevant.

As usual, I don't really look forward to CNY. The smell of new clothes on first two or three days of CNY and the stacks of dishes to wash haunt me since forever. Of course, when I was a kid those were all that mattered to develop an aversion. But this year, I have been wondering if this year's CNY will be the last before studying in the overseas for four long years.

Most probably, 'yes' but there's also a quite huge probability saying 'no'. No one can tell the future.

When my far relatives whom I could only meet during CNY said, "Bye, see you next year!", I waved back, replied, "Yeap, see you!" and only whispered, "...when I see you."

There are many traditions and rituals that are only done during CNY and when I was performing them this year, a fleeting melancholic feeling overcame me every time. The thoughts of 'I might be missing this next year', 'I might be having my reunion dinner not just at a huge distance, but also time difference, away from my family' and 'Should I eat more then, so that I could spend more time lavishing the company before lacking it for four years?'.

I did feel stupid to think of this but my mind keeps taking account of the future, even when it is perceiving the present. One good thing about this is that I ended up viewing CNY in a significantly more positive way. It undeniably brings families together.

Fortunately, I managed to join 初九 (9th day of CNY) celebration this year. It is usually celebrated by Hokkien Chinese and I had been missing it so many times because it always falls on weekdays. This year it fell on a weekend and since my college is on the way from my aunt's house to my grandparents' house, she picked me up on last Friday evening and voila, I got to celebrate 初九! Ah Ma (grandmother) was pretty happy I could make it this time as she said, "Wah Ah May, it's good that you finally get to come back for 初九!"

As expected, the preparation for 初九 was endless. The celebration must only start at 12 midnight, so automatically the whole day had been spent to finish up all the necessities. I seriously could not remember the last time I celebrated 初九, possibly when my age was only one digit, so everything was pretty new to me. As the quite 'old' Soo grandchildren, my sister and I spent most of the day walking, be it around the kitchen carrying chairs or outside the house cleaning the porch. It was super tiring but it was nothing compared to the amount of work the elders did.

When the clouds started to darken, relatives and neighbours (probably about 40-50 people?) began to flood into our house. Chatters and laughters spread around the house as everyone waited for the clock to tick twelve. The midnight came and there was a brief silence when everyone (almost) simultaneously knelt down to pray. You should have seen the amount of joss sticks!

After a considerate period of firework show, eating began! That was when all the 'what if's started to cross this little brain of mine again as I observed people taking food while I fanned flies away from the food. The sight of a small girl sneakily pinching a huge pau, a couple happily munching their food, a cousin surprisingly discovered a nice delicacy, a relative graciously asking if I had eaten and et cetera made me appreciate my trip home, even if I would miss it again for the next few years.

If I teared up for goodbyes, it is usually when I leave my grandparents or when I see my mother cries. But this time, it was the first time I shed tears when my cousins left.