A Happy New Year to all of you. May 2022 be a better year for you and bring you more happiness, success, love and blessings!
Last year was a challenging year, particularly because of Covid-19 which continued to rage around the world, our nation and state.
It was an unforgettable year because of the 12th Sarawak state election which saw the landslide victory of the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition as well as the two-dose Covid-19 vaccination which most of us who were eligible had to undergo and the booster shot later on.
Last year was also unforgettable for my colleagues and I in our editorial department because Covid-19 forced us to work from home for three whole months. Personally for me, 2021 was a sad year also because I lost my mother who died of old age.
Today’s column is my first for 2022. How time flies! I can’t believe it is already Jan 9. I look forward to a better year in terms of my career and personal life. May it be another interesting year filled with learning and wonderful experience.
Just before 2021 ended, the Omicron Covid-19 variant was discovered, causing fresh fears among the public. At this point in time, as the Omicron variant rages across the globe, experts have warned that two new emerging strains “IHU” and ‘Flurona” could become health threats as well.
The World Health Organisation recently revealed that IHU variant, which had been on its radar, was identified around the same time as the highly transmissible Omicron variant was surging in South Africa.
Generally, Malaysians, like the rest of the world, are hoping that the Covid-19 pandemic will end this year and that life will return to normal again.
With Sarawak now in Phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP), the midnight operating limit for business operators has been lifted. Nevertheless, because of the worldwide outbreak of the Omicron variant, Sarawak Business Federation secretary-general Datuk Jonathan Chai has advised business operators and the public to remain vigilant against the virus.
He pointed out there was still a need to strike a balance between the enforcement of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to control the spread of the virus and the opening up of the economy.
Meanwhile, Chinese all over the year are set to welcome the Lunar New Year on Feb 1. 2022 is the Year of the Tiger and the tiger is known to be king of all beasts in China. The qualities associated with the tiger, which comes third in the Chinese zodiac, are competitiveness, self-confidence, bravery, great willpower and strength.
Bright and loud red Chinese New Year decorations are already on sale in selected shops in Kuching City. Favourites among the celebrants are branches of plum blossoms, orchids, peonies, peach blossoms, lanterns, lanterns and Chinese couplets.
Chinese in general love the colour red because it represents happiness and good fortune.
Chinese New Year cookies and snacks like peanuts, sweets and glutinous rice are also on sale.
House-proud housewives have already started baking their Chinese New Year cookies and cakes.
One of my friends, who is a good baker, will be making her much-loved fruit cakes soon. I went shopping for the ingredients with her recently.
It is also time for Chinese New Year celebrants to spring clean their homes for the big festival. Many Chinese families are in the midst of decluttering their homes and donating their old clothes and unwanted items.
It is traditional for Chinese to clean their houses and the surrounding areas before the start of the New Year. The word ‘dust’ in Chinese is a homophone for ‘old’ and cleaning the house symbolises driving away the bad luck of the previous year to make way for a new fresh beginning.
In my neighbourhood, the local council has provided a big roll-on roll-off bin for bulk waste from the Chinese New Year spring cleaning at the recycling centre. So far, the amount of waste is small but as the Lunar New Year looms, the pile of rubbish will get bigger and bigger.
Because my mother died less than a year ago, my family and I are still mourning her death. So I will not be celebrating Chinese New Year as a sign of respect for the old lady. Nevertheless, I will still do a bit of spring cleaning and go for a meal at my son’s house on Chinese New Year’s Eve on Jan 31.
Before my father, mother and brothers died, I used to look forward to the Chinese New Year because of the reunion dinner and boisterous family gatherings.
But like the years that have come and gone, my father, mother and brothers are no longer around and I have to accept their deaths as part of life and move on. So move on I will.
So Happy 2022 once again, my friends, and let’s move on with life.