I have celebrated Chinese New Year my entire life. And being a Malay Muslim and living in Malaysia, I feel myself very unique and special for doing so.
It is not hard to understand why. I have Chinese and Malay blood in me. My grandmother on my mother’s side is Chinese and the ethnic influence is very strong.
My brothers and I all speak Cantonese (however poor our pronunciation is) and when we speak English, we are very easily mistaken for being Chinese because of our accent.
When I was in primary school, some Malay classmates would tease me and say that I am committing a sin by celebrating Chinese New Year and collecting ang pows.
At first I was confused, but very quickly I realised that they were all just stupid and did not know what they were talking about. I was proud of that.
Of course, our family celebrated Hari Raya too and so did all our Chinese relatives who would gather at our house every single year without even needing an invitation.
And as how life naturally is, my Chinese grandmother eventually died and this year is the second Chinese New Year without her being with us.
So now, during Chinese New Year’s eve, we joke that we are really just a bunch of Malays flipping salmon in plum sauce with chopsticks and gulping down “chai choy” without any real reason to do so!
The pure Chinese immediate family member is gone. But it is alright. We have her blood running in our veins. And we still celebrate the first and second day with the entire Ang clan. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]