5 quick fixes for reunion dinner disasters

A Chinese New Year cheat sheet for the usual hijinks that ensue at a family gathering

Photos: ING Image
Photos: ING Image
20 Jan 2016

Photos: ING Image

Where crowds go, hijinks follow. And nowhere is this principle more obvious than at a Chinese New Year reunion dinner, where friends, family, and various hangers-on mingle for a night of merry-making. While every reunion dinner is fraught with awkward encounters, nosy aunties, and rambunctious cousins, you don’t need to let one hiccup – be it an interrogation on your love life, or sheer boredom – ruin your holiday. Here’s how to save yourself from potential Chinese New Year disasters: 

1. DISASTER: You’re stuck babysitting a bunch of restless kids
1. DISASTER: You’re stuck babysitting a bunch of restless kids
20 Jan 2016

1. DISASTER: You’re stuck babysitting a bunch of restless kids

Oh dear. Not only have your parents plunked you over at the kids’ table, but those little rugrats are bored out of their minds. They’re crying, they’re throwing food on the ground, and a couple have even attempted to pickpocket your ang bao. What can a faithful older cousin like you do when there’s no rescue in sight? (Aside from crying into a tin of pineapple tarts).

SOLUTION: Teach them Ah Boy Noah Yap’s Awkward Apple Dance, which he demonstrated on unwitting dance partners (and a giant Sombersby Apple) on Orchard Road last week. Not only is this dance less annoying than Gangnam Style (we know it’s the Year of the Horse, but let it die already, please!) but with any luck, it’ll tire the kids out in time for their nap.
 

2. DISASTER: You need an excuse to use play games on your handphone...
2. DISASTER: You need an excuse to use play games on your handphone...
20 Jan 2016

2. DISASTER: You need an excuse to use play games on your handphone...

instead of making small talk with your mum’s cousin’s husband’s sister’s step-brother’s girlfriend.

Handphones can provide a much-needed respite from all that small talk. But they can also make you look like a rude, aloof technology addict lacking in filial piety and respect for the occasion. So how do you make an excuse to spend some 1:1 time on your phone, without locking yourself in the bathroom to do it?

SOLUTION: Open up a Chinese New Year-related app to show your parents that you aren’t completely tuning out on the festivities. Check out 313’s Tree of Prosperity app (conveniently hosted on their Facebook), which allows fans to grow their own virtual tree for a chance to win $150 worth of 313@somerset shopping vouchers. The fan who grows the tallest tree at the end of the competition will win a whopping S$1,000 worth of shopping vouchers. If your parents nag you to put away the phone, you should obey them (eventually), but in the meantime, whip up the app and promise them that you’ll share the winnings.  

3. DISASTER: You’re severely lacking in Chinese New Year décor
3. DISASTER: You’re severely lacking in Chinese New Year décor
20 Jan 2016

3. DISASTER: You’re severely lacking in Chinese New Year décor

Disaster of disasters – your parents have asked to host a lunch at your place at the last minute! And you have absolutely no Chinese New Year paraphernalia, short of a few hong bao envelopes and a couple half-eaten boxes of bak kwa.

SOLUTION: Before you resign yourself to buying cheap and cheesy decorations at Chinatown, consider skipping the crowds to visit the VivoCity Chinese Arts and Crafts Fair consisting of 80 booths of traditional Chinese heritage pieces. Instead of buying plastic horse pieces, consider a hand-painted sculpture. You can also pick up inner bottle paintings with handmade carvings, gorgeously-crafted porcelain teapots, and Chinese paper cutting with every design imaginable.
 

4. DISASTER: You’ve been tasked with planning a Chinese New Year getaway...
4. DISASTER: You’ve been tasked with planning a Chinese New Year getaway...
20 Jan 2016

4. DISASTER: You’ve been tasked with planning a Chinese New Year getaway...

and have no idea where to begin

Your parents want to plan a short holiday for the entire family, but they’re clueless on what’s convenient and available. So naturally, the responsibility falls on you to plan a weekend getaway with three generations of family members.

SOLUTION: Tempted to fake your own death and disappear forever? Don’t be silly. Planning a quick getaway is as simple as heading up to Johor Bahru – specifically, to Legoland Malaysia Resort, which has an impressive lineup of activities for both the young and old. The Park will challenge guests to assemble 888 Lego horses (that’s over 20,000 Lego bricks!), after which you can enjoy the musical fireworks, street concerts, a lion dance, and of course, all the fun rides that Legoland has to offer. 

5. DISASTER: You reek of bak kwa and fried food...
5. DISASTER: You reek of bak kwa and fried food...
20 Jan 2016

5. DISASTER: You reek of bak kwa and fried food...

while everyone else miraculously smells of sunshine and rainbows

Of all the smells in all the foods in all the world, this one had to stick onto you. On the one hand, you could just take a shower, but on the other hand, reunion dinners are awkward enough without hogging the bathroom for a half hour to freshen up.

SOLUTION: Spritz on a sophisticated, romantic fragrance, such as The Oud Collection by Atkinsons, which was inspired by Egypt in the Roaring Twenties and “bonny old England.” Oud Save the Queen, the scent for women, contains notes of Earl Grey Bergamot and clove, as well as orange blossom and Jasmine. That should cover you up nicely, eh?

Available exclusively at Robinsons Orchard from 1st February
Oud Save the King S$288
Oud Save the Queen S$288

 

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