Steph's Friend

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Reunion Dinner

Once again...that day is finally almost here. Red packets...mandarin oranges...visitations...all of these are common in Chinese New Year. But there's also the Reunion Dinner.

I still remember how I used to go around with my family...visiting relatives and collecting red packets. Haha...when I was small...I just wanted to go for the red packets and would pester my parents to go home after that. It took me to realise that actually it's more than the red packet. You might say that the red packet is a "bonus" in Chinese New Year. But what's more important is that relatives get down to talk and catch up on old times. This event once every year made sure that family members maintain contact with eah other.

Then there's the Reunion Dinner. Heard from my father that it is a very important tradition that the Chinese follow. He even told me a story...

"There was once a family in Singapore. It was a Chinese family. New Year's Eve was around the corner. Hence they decided to have their Reunion Dinner then. However...all but one of the family members were missing. Nevertheless, they gathered around their table and talked about how that family member would fare. That family member was studying overseas and told them that he might be late for the Reunion Dinner. Even so, they placed his bowl and a pair of chopsticks at his place. When the time for waiting was up, they began their dinner, with the bowl and chopsticks there...just hoping that he would come in through the door and join the family. Alas...he did not return. He was late...and returned only the next day."

Personally, this story was able to drive the point that the Reunion Dinner is an important event. Even family members who were seperated by countries would ensure that they would return for the Reunion Dinner.

I guess the Reunion Dinner is an important event for the current society...especially when families no longer eat together. What is a family if you can't even spend time having meals with them? The lack of family time may explain the current rise in the number of dysfunctional families in Singapore.

Some may say that traditions are for those who are old-fashioned. But for me, I feel that if the tradition is good...why not follow it? For example...the tradition of giving out red packets is definitely good for me...having the Reunion Dinner is also another good tradition. It allows us family members to spend quality time together. Even though you may say "What's there to talk about? You see your family members everyday!", I still feel that it's the closeness and bond of the family that I really treasure. They are the people whom you can turn to in times of trouble. The people who will lend you a helping hand.

So do treasure your family.

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