By Robert Kenneth
THE preparations to usher in the Chinese New Year celebration this Friday in Kuching are done in a simple, small-scale and quiet manner.
Bernama checks saw the absence of the lively shopping atmosphere contributed by shoppers making purchases to welcome the new year evident in previous years as people are complying with the standard operating procedures (SOP) set to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
The feeling of sadness lingers among those who are unable to return home to celebrate the festivity with their loved ones in compliance with the SOP set to break the chain of infection.
For a drugstore operator, Adam Ling Siong Kang, 50, this year will be the first time he will not be able to return to his hometown in Sibu to celebrate the Chinese New Year with his parents and other family members as the town has been categorised as COVID-19 red zone and placed under the Movement Control Order.
“I will celebrate the new year here (Kuching) with my wife and children,” Ling told Bernama.
A fruit seller, Jon Chong , 45, said he would welcome the Year of the Ox on a smaller scale with only his family members and would not visit others during the celebration in compliance with the Conditional Movement Control Order in Kuching, adding that it was for the best.
On his preparations for the upcoming festivity, Chong said he only bought food and beverages necessary for the reunion dinner, saying it was more important for them to be able to perform prayers and celebrate the festivity together at home.
This year’s celebration will be a small affair for Karen Kuek, 34, as her brothers who are working in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore will not be able to return home this year.
“It will only be my parents and I and we will have a steamboat dinner. We will not be visiting the temple for prayers and on the first day of CNY we will only visit my grandmother,” she said.
Meanwhile, for Quennie Huwang, 48, she only bought food and beverages for the reunion dinner with some snacks and did not plan to buy new clothes for herself and her family as they would normally do.
“We will not go anywhere, just staying at home, so there is no need to buy new clothes,” she added.