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Ushering in the Year of the Rat

24 Jan 2020 / 11:45 H.

TOMORROW, we will be saying goodbye to the Year of the Boar, and welcoming the Year of the Rat. theSun rounded up 10 celebrities and asked them how they are going to celebrate the occasion. Let us hear what they have to say.

1) John Tan, actor (Born in the Year of the Snake)

“I will always go back to my hometown of Alor Star, Kedah. I will go back at least a week before Chinese New Year so I can help my mother prepare for the event.

“The thing I always look forward to during Chinese New Year is my mother’s cooking. She will cook at least nine to 12 dishes. My all-time favourite is her sambal udang petai.”

2) Douglas Lim, stand-up comedian (Born in the Year of the Snake)

“I used to go back to Malacca when I was very young, but now we don’t have a house there any more. All my celebrations take place in Kuala Lumpur.

“I always look forward to meeting up with my uncles and aunties. They usually have a new joke for me to use in my shows. Their jokes are usually bad, but I don’t tell them because I think it takes them a whole year to practise and pitch the idea to me.”

3) Fabian Loo, actor (Born in the Year of the Horse)

“This year I am not going back to Penang, my hometown. I will be celebrating Chinese New Year in Genting Highlands with my family. There will be at least 15 to 20 of us in Genting Highlands.

“My brother Cedric Loo (who is an actor, too) has a new movie Fightlah! Kopitiam that will be screening in cinemas during Chinese New Year. My family and I are likely to catch his film to support him.

“My Chinese New Year break is not going to be a long holiday. I have to get back to work soon. I have a short film to direct.”

4) Sunny Pang, actor (Born in the Year of the Rat)

“After my mother passed away in 2011, I always make a point to continue the tradition of gathering with my siblings and my relatives in Singapore, and to spend quality time together.

“Our careers keep us busy and we have so little time to mingle with each other. I think Chinese New Year is the best time to catch up with them.

“To my fans out there, I want to say please remember to love your parents more, bring them out for dinner and please spread kindness around. We need more kindness out there.”

5) Sora Ma, actress (Born in the Year of the Boar)

“I love hanging out with my family members, relatives and cousins during this celebration. During my childhood, I used to be excited about receiving ang pows but as I grew older, I felt kind of embarrassed to get ang pows from my relatives, as I understood that money does not come easy and it is their hard-earned money.

“I am also the founder of Heartworks, a registered non-profit organisation which was started a few years back. I have been constantly visiting old folks’ and children’s homes throughout the years.

“We dance with them. We sing with them. We interact with them. We are planning something charitable for this season, too.”

6) Joanne Goh, film producer (Born in the Year of the Rabbit)

“Usually, I will spend the first two days of Chinese New Year in my hometown, Ipoh.

“One tradition I follow strictly is to never sweep the floor on the first day of the Chinese New Year. It is said that if you do that, you are sweeping away good fortune.

“It is tradition that we must have new clothes and apparel on the first day of the Chinese New Year, as it symbolises a new beginning to the new year.

“I have specifically bought some red and yellow clothes for this special occasion, to symbolise good fortune, happiness, joy, prestige, wealth and more.”

7) Lawrence Ong, actor

“I am currently based in Shanghai, Taipei and Hong Kong. But on Chinese New Year I will go back to my hometown of Kota Baru, Kelantan.

“Having been working and living in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China, the last thing I want to eat in Malaysia is Chinese cuisine. Kelantan’s Malay food is the very best.

“I would also try my best to eat Indian and southern Thai-Muslim dishes which are widely available in northern Kelantan.

“I won’t reveal my [Chinese zodiac] sign. I do not want to fall into the zodiac trap. But my friends keep telling me that gold will bring me more luck and blessings this year. So I got myself a new handmade gold-bronze colour ring.

“I have been raising funds to buy school shoes for [children] from low-income families in Kelantan. Over the years, we have bought hundreds of pairs of shoes and distributed them to [orphanages] and primary schools. We might do the same thing this Chinese New Year, too.”

8) Chelsia Ng, actress (Born in the Year of the Rooster)

“I will be celebrating Chinese New Year in my hometown, Penang. I look forward to yummy homecooked food and spending some quality time with my family and friends.

“I really believe you should spend time with your family and friends on this occasion. You must never be too busy to spend time with people who care for you.

“I was born in the Year of the Rooster and I have been told it will be a smooth-sailing year for me.

“I am getting a few cheongsams tailor-made this [year] ... I will post [pictures of my] new cheongsams on social media once they are ready.”

9) Saw Teong Hin, film director (Born in the year of the Tiger)

“I will return to my hometown in Penang to spend time with my two brothers, sister, four nieces and one nephew.

“I will also meet up with some of my old friends. Chinese New Year is a reminder for us to spend time with people whom we grew up with.

“I do not purposely go out on a limb to get new clothes for Chinese New Year. But I will at least get one new pair of underwear (laughs).

“After Chinese New Year, I will be working on several projects. But at the moment, I am not at liberty to discuss them.”

10) Jack Tan, actor (Born in the year of the Goat)

“I am a city boy from Kuala Lumpur, so I will be celebrating here. I have been working on a new film and I am really tired. So I want to take this Chinese New Year holiday to rest, gather with friends and family and do some fun activities like going to the gym, and rock climbing.

“One tradition I follow during Chinese New Year is to never sleep during the daytime. If you do that, you will feel lazy throughout the whole year.

“These days I find people put more focus on their phones during the gatherings. They are bonding more with their phones instead of with the people who are at the gathering.”

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