We’ve had more than one year of Covid-19, with the first case in Singapore detected on 23 January 2020. That year Chinese New Year (CNY) was on 25 January. It was still a pretty normal one as CNYs go.
After one year of controls this has been the most unusual CNY:
- Limited to 8 visiting persons per day. Gone were huge open houses and large family reunions.
- Limited to visiting 2 households per day, no more visiting from house to house of all friends and relatives. Most young adults would have to limit to parents or grandparents.
- All visiting had to be pre-planned to take the above rules into account. Large families resorted to phone apps and scheduling aids.
- Restaurants were limited to 8 guests per table and no intermixing amongst tables. Families could not book multiple tables at restaurants for reunions.
- No loud toasts were allowed at CNY dinner during the tossing of “lo hei”, the special local CNY salad. In fact, diners were encouraged to be masked in case they inadvertently let out a few words. Restaurants were to use prerecorded toasts instead of having the wait staff recite the auspicious phrases.
- The border was closed, so no families could drive into Malaysia for family reunions. My apartment carpark used to almost empty out during CNY but not this year. In fact, our neighbours in Malaysia were also not having family reunions on account if Covid-19, so its equal misery on both sides of the border.
But everyone is taking all these changes in stride. With the vaccine roll-out, everyone feels it will soon be over and we just need to bear with it a while more.