Monday, January 26, 2009

Do Thais Celebrate Chinese New Year?

On the eve of CNY, I received a bunch of promotional SMS from a bunch of night clubs. Yes Thais do celebrate. It is just another occasion to get drunk. Drown yourselves in alcohol and have your faces engulfed in the no bra cheongsam chests of this beautiful Kingdom. Yipeee…..

Well, that’s what most will be up to. But for a large handful of scattered Chinese who have not lost traditions, altars will be set up for prayers. The Chinese came some centuries ago to work the land into economic upturn. Most started off as coolies working hard in construction or as laborers in factories and such. Without the Chinese women imported from their land, they paired up with the natives and cross marriages transpire from then till present. The Chinese then promoted their own social statuses by working hard and exercising their business mind. Soon, they were big owners of successful corporations and businesses such as large scale rice mills which are still now family oriented and handed down from one generation to the other.

The Chinese traditions had been handed down as well but many of the current generation had conveniently forgotten the practices. Ask some Chinese Thai and then you will see they no longer know what steps to be taken, how many joss sticks to burn, how many times to pray and which direction for prayer (actually, I have forgotten too). Sounds like a dying culture ain’t it? But as one walks the streets of Bangkok, the hidden scatters of Chinese practices will be revealed one street after another. Give another fifty years or so when all the Teochew speaking old folks are gone, will the loud continuous bangs of fire crackers still be around to mark the turn of the Chinese Lunar Calendar? Maybe yes, maybe no, yes and maybe but could be no. It is the auspicious first day of the New Year today, it is just another day. We are working in the office now.

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