KUCHING: A sluggish economy is forcing many a trader here to take a pragmatic view of the upcoming Chinese New Year celebration.
Yes, they have every intention to usher in the Year of the Tiger but, perhaps, minus the fanfare associated with the dawn of a new lunar year.
A street poll at the busy Kenyalang Park Commercial Center near here found many are resigned to keeping the celebration in the family and pretty much just stay home this time.
“I am not going anywhere this year for the Chinese New Year and my family and I are going to be just staying at home,” said one Lau, who owns a stationery shop.
“Usually we will travel somewhere during the celebration but this year we cannot,” she said, adding, “but it is much better because we can save some money as the economy now is not good.”
“The prices of goods have gone up by more than 10 per cent of late,” said 50-something Lau who has been in business for about 28 years.
“We will only be decorating the house and eating this year. Just celebrate it at home,” she said, alluding to the business slowdown.
Similarly florist Tay Mui Seng, 63, sighed that the economy is doing badly compared to last year.
And like Lau, he intends to spend CNY with his family at home which will include a family dinner with his wife, five children and six grandchildren.
“For the past two months, the economy has not been good. Business is very slow for us and I do not anticipate an exciting celebration,” said Tay, who has been operating his business in the commercial center for the past three years.
“I just hope the economy will be back to normal for us again soon,” he said.
His friend and fellow florist, Chai Che Sung, 55, also lamented that business has not been good due to the economic slowdown.
“Business is not good as our Malaysian currency is not doing well,” said Chai, who will also be celebrating the forthcoming occasion with a reunion dinner with his family.
Chai, who has been in the floral business in the area for three years, also hoped that the economy will recover soon.
Grocery shop owner one Lo, 65, who has run his business for over 40 years, said he would be celebrating like in previous years.
“Yes, the economy is bad but we will be celebrating CNY at home this year which is better,” said the father of three.