I look forward to spring cleaning and putting things in their place. It’s therapeutic for me.


By the time you read my column today, I will be taking my annual leave. Annual leave is paid time off work granted by employers to their workers to be used for whatever the employee wishes.

The primary aim of paid annual leave is to allow every employee to renew his physical and mental capabilities and to remain a fully productive employee.

I am not taking all of my annual leave, just part of it. The primary purpose of my annual leave is not to renew my physical and mental capabilities but rather to do spring cleaning for the Chinese New Year.

The Chinese New Year, generally referred to as Lunar New Year, is less than a fortnight away. The Chinese festival marks the beginning of a new year in the traditional Chinese calendar. In China, the festival is referred to as the Spring Festival.

Many Chinese believe having a tidy and clean house during the Chinese New Year will attract great fortune into their lives while a dirty house, on the other hand, can bring some negativity.

Even you do not believe this, it is, nevertheless, good to have your house spick and span for the festival. Never mind if you are not having a Chinese New Year open house and are celebrating the festival only with your family.

Every year, Jan 1 is the start of a new year for the world but for the Chinese, the first day of the Lunar New Year, is the beginning of their new year. It is time to wish each other good health, happiness, success and prosperity.

Gong Xi Fa Cai”, which means “wishing you great happiness and prosperity” is the most common greeting during the 15-day festival which ends with the “Chap Goh Mei” which simply means “the 15th night of Chinese New Year” in Hokkien.

Chinese all over the world will welcome the Lunar New Year on Jan 25. On Jan 24, the eve of the Lunar New Year, they will hold their family reunion dinner and many celebrants will set off fireworks and firecrackers in the hope of bringing forth good luck.

Children love the Chinese New Year because it is a time full of festive cheers, good food and “ang pow” (red packets containing cash that married folks give to children and unmarried ones).

Many people clean their homes long before the festival. In my housing estate, many celebrants have begun throwing out unwanted stuffs from their house and leaving them at the recycling centre there. Yesterday, when I drove past the centre, I saw a lone pot of indoor plant there — ready for a plant lover to adopt!

I don’t like spring cleaning. To me, an office worker, it is hard manual work and time-consuming. If I have a choice, I’d rather sit behind a computer in the office and edit hundreds of news instead of spring cleaning.

That’s why I am looking forward to my sister-in-law’s visit. She has promised to help me with my spring cleaning. And as I have mentioned in my previous column, she is an efficient and merciless cleaner.  She does not blink an eye before throwing away what she deems is clutter.

Throwing away unnecessary items is just an important and sometimes painful part of spring cleaning. It is difficult to throw away every unnecessary item if you are a hoarder. The more things you discard, the easier it will be for you to clean up.

Some experts suggest you start with cleaning up your kitchen and working your way to the rooms and living room.

In my opinion, important places to keep tidy and clean for the Chinese New Year are the front porch, living room and kitchen.

Visitors will enter your house through the front porch, sit in your living room and may explore what you have in your kitchen. If you are not holding any Chinese New Year open house, you will still have visitors in the form of relatives and family members.

We may not be embarrassed if family members find our houses dirty but we will certainly be uncomfortable in front of relatives.

Although cleaning everyday can help to clear out a ton of dirt from our homes, very few of us do it because of various reasons including tiredness and laziness.

If you are, like me, still in the midst of spring cleaning, good luck and all the best. I hope your house will be spick and span by the eve of Chinese New Year.