Spring is round the corner though it won’t officially arrive till 立春 which falls on 3rd February 2017. Globally, the Chinese New Year mood is modest and festive decorations in shopping malls, hotels and other public places is on minimalist mode. It is made worse by Trump’s presidency with its anti-globalisation rhetoric and 3 am China bashing tweets.
Regardless, I’ve decided that my house in Kuala Lumpur needed a makeover for the year of Fire Rooster. So it started with mummy dearest arriving in town last week to supervise the repainting of the doors, changing of carpets, bed sheets, curtains and even the dustbin. Then, it is my turn to decorate the front and side doors. I retrieved from the store room the lantern bought from Vietnam and the red tapestry from China. (Perhaps, in support to Make America Great Again, let's hope that in 2018, we will be able purchase traditional lantern and tapestry Made in America, from American e-Bay or Amazon.com (just not Alibaba yeah), paid for with American Express and to be delivered by American owned UPS.)
Ops… and before that, I’ve decided to change the couplet that adorned the doors too. A few days earlier, I contacted my Chinese expert friend, Pin Yeeh to improvise on the couplet. After some exchanges and a good laugh on my poor command of Chinese composition, we agreed with 祖国富强疆域统，宗族和谐九州同。
As expressed on the couplet, I sincerely wish that my home country is strong and prosperous with its population living harmoniously and all opportunities created equally. As with previous years, it took a while to get my calligraphy skills in order before the red papers can be proudly attached. With all that done, I am off again to Singapore, wondering how many nights will I spend in that house in 2017.
A new year, new coat of paint, new couplet and in twelve months time, another new year again.... this is the vicissitudes of life.