Friday, January 31, 2014


2014: Year of the Horse. More like 4712!

I look the part, but I am about as Chinese as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley in Iron Man III or the plastic restaurant chain). My family has no formal meal the night of; no vegetarian cleanse the day after. This year, my mother had a culturally existential crisis on the matter when a family friend told her nothing short of "you are not Chinese enough; you need to learn your heritage". My mother is almost seventy and her friend is in her forties. 

Tough break, eh? I digress.

I am throwing a last minute Year of the Horse party at my mother's house for a few friends. It will be as sloppy and informal as it is last-minute. I write this before I've even come up with a menu. All I can think of is that this is a perfect excuse for a party. "Happy New Year" is the rough English equivalent of the only thing I can say in both Cantonese and Mandarin and even then, the Cantonese is my late Grandmother's dialect.

Relevance? There are a million other things I could be doing today, many of which are far more productive than my feeble attempts at maintaining some kind of sub-culture or family tradition.  I may look the part as I have mentioned, but then again I look the part for anything but black; though I have been mistaken for such through the sheer ignorance of my accuser and my choice of attire. Chinese New Year has always been that strange, exotic thing that I embraced as a part of my bloodline. In kindergarten, the teacher asked me to tell the class about it. I just described the glorious spread that used to push the family to the margins of the dining room on Lord Robert's Drive in Scarborough. I've never known the significance, if any.

Chow Kien & Chow York-Ying
Chinese New Year for me has always been about food, friends and family. China is no longer exotic, with Mandarin paving the way for a new lingua franca. I've been told I was "not Chinese enough" in my own time, albeit by a triad gangster addled by MDMA at a rave. If I choose to throw a party and give away jiaoze (dumplings) and booze instead of cash money in little red envelopes, is it "not Chinese enough"?

Who cares? Well, I obviously do a mote, or I wouldn't feel the need to write this. It would have been easier to go grab dim sum and then get drunk. It would have been of no significance if I did nothing, or simply joined the guys at the pub like any other Friday.

Little dumplings and tall cans of beer. That's what the year of the Horse is getting kicked off (har har) with.

To the glorious diversity of my ridiculous generation.


Xin Nian Kuai Le! Goong Hey fat Choy!

PS: I'm allergic to horses...