CHINESE New Year is definitely my favourite time of the year because of the massive gatherings and sumptuous dinners that my family has throughout this period. And the red packets, of course.

As we all know, on the evening before the first day of the new year, it is a tradition for the Chinese to have a reunion dinner with their families.

The point of the dinner is to get the whole family together, especially those who are away most of the time.

I have always enjoyed reunion dinners because in my opinion, my mum is the best cook in the world, and also because the dinner remind me of what a wonderful family I have.

Every Chinese New Year, my family would travel to my dad’s hometown to celebrate the occasion with my uncle’s family. As children, my cousins and I used to play and run around in the orchard that my dad and uncle own. We played hide-and-seek, and once even had our own barbecue session with some potatoes.

But as we grew older, Chinese New Year started becoming a more a stay-at-home affair. The kids all seem more reluctant to get out in the sun, while smartphones and tablets keep us occupied indoors. Even at visitations, relatives and cousins are constantly on their phones or tablets instead of communicating face-to-face.

Perhaps we are forgetting the point of this occasion. Chinese New Year is a time where relatives come together to celebrate, feast and be merry.

I am guilty of using my phone during visitations and I have grown apart from my cousins partly because of that.

Proper conversations among young people are so rare these days, because everyone is always busy or away studying. Because of this, we should appreciate the festive season all the more.

So whether you’re celebrating Chinese New Year, or just planning to visit a friend, remember to put away those gadgets and truly experience this occasion.

There is so much more you can experience with your friends and family than those gadgets can ever offer.

The writer is a member of The Star’s BRATs young journalist programme, organised by R.AGE. For more info and stories from the BRATs, log on to

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