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9 Feb 2007

survivor: chinese new year edition

Fridae's festive fairy, Alvin Tan, offers gay men and women some tips on how to outwit, outplay and outlast annoying relatives and family friends this Chinese New Year.

Back when I was still a Drama Queen, I was always sorely tempted to call forth all my acting prowess and do something really dramatic - like feigning a heart attack while spring-cleaning - just to avoid the annual chin-gay celebrations.

For gay men and women of Chinese descent, the Chinese New Year often pose more challenges than all fourteen seasons of Survivor rolled into one. Swinging singletons worry about inquisitive relatives, same-sex couples despair over whether to bring their partners home etc, etc.

When I first invited my partner home for the traditional steamboat dinner, my parents had to be force-fed cattle tranquilisers. Fortunately, things have since settled down nicely once my partner and I stopped nibbling on each other's earlobes in the presence of family.

Despite having been accepted by our families, my partner and I still look forward to the Chinese New Year with as much enthusiasm as having a crate of Mandarin oranges suspended from our testicles.

And it's all because of the moron-a-thon of relatives and family friends who will come a-visiting during the festive period and start a-flinging their dreaded questions our way faster and deadlier than Andy Lau's missiles in House of Flying Daggers:

Dreaded Question #1: "When are you going to get married?" or "Why still no girlfriend/boyfriend?"
Recommended Reply: "I prefer to sleep around."

Dreaded Question #2: "When are you going to get serious and settle down? Can you honestly see yourself doing this ten years down the road?"
Recommended Reply: "Yes, you're right. I don't see myself doing this ten years down the road. Ten years down the road, I'll be acting in gay porn."

Dreaded Question #3 (usually to gay couples): "But which one of you is the man?"
Recommended Response: The more obviously fey partner to grab the shirt of the idiot who asked and growl "Who d'ya think?"

Dreaded Question #4 (usually to lesbians): "How do you do "it" in bed?"
Recommended Response: Either provide a "live" sapphic sex demonstration or whip up your battery-operated vibrator and switch it on.

Understandably, with each passing Chinese New Year, I find it harder and harder to restrain my inner Naomi Campbell and refrain from plummeting the more annoying relatives and family friends with my Swarovski-encrusted mobile phone.

Fortunately, all is not lost.

As a community, we gay men and women are incredibly resilient. After all, who else go through life with our heads held high despite being confronted with discrimination, homophobia, AIDS and whatever else the world throws at us.

Besides issuing verbal barbs and shooting off glares of death to oh-so-deserving relatives and family friends, here are some popular options on how to spend (or survive) the upcoming Chinese New Year holidays:

Escape Overseas
One of the more popular options amongst members of the gay jet set is of course to fly the friendly skies and embark on their annual pilgrimages to their favourite gay meccas for a welcome respite.

Just imagine: Instead of having to serve food and drinks to visitors, you could be lying on a sun deck sipping your avocado daiquiri as a cute Cabana boy massages your foot while another fans you gently with a palm leaf. homo-heaven!

Fool The Family
Another possible option - but strictly for closet cases and those whose parents will detonate upon hearing the news that their son is a cocksucker - is to put on a brave home front and to rope in their fag hags and Sapphic sisters to pass off as girlfriends."

For both gay men and women, the general rule of thumb when choosing someone from our community to pose as your heterosexual "partner" is that the male partner should never wear more makeup and the female partner should never have bigger biceps.

(Note: Doing drag during Chinese New Year is a no-go, unless like yours truly, you look resplendent in cheongsam a la Maggie Cheng in In The Mood For Love.)

Spend It With "Family"
And finally, the most popular option amongst gay men and women would be to create your own celebrations and organise get-togethers and reunion dinners with your more "fabulous (and fashionable) family."

Activities at such gatherings would include the usual all-night mahjong parties (bye bye Hongbaos!), pot-luck cook-outs, as well as home-decoration competitions - given that festive seasons never fail to bring out the frustrated window-dressers in all gay men.

Whichever option you may prefer, it is always wise to plan ahead in order to ensure a happy holiday for yourself, your partner (if you are attached), your friends and of course, your family.

To put yourself in the right frame for mind, just keep Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" on repeat mode in your iPod throughout this festive season and remind yourself to be thankful that instead of giving out "red packets," you'll be receiving them.

And on that note, here's wishing all of Fridae's readers a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year!

Known as the Spring Festival in China, 'Tet in Vietnam and 'Sol' in South Korea, Chinese New Year is also celebrated internationally in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese. Many overseas Chinese also return home on the eve of Chinese New Year to have reunion dinners with their families. This can be a time of joy as well as increased tension, we invite readers to share their Chinese New Year experiences and their plans for the holidays.

Reader's Comments

1. 2007-02-09 21:41  

Fridae's on a roll this week!

The Madonna ban, then Alvin's column, then this!

2. 2007-02-10 10:08  
I think to Alvin's Dreaded Question 1, my answer is "When are you going die?" or "Why you haven't die yet?"
3. 2007-02-10 11:43  
Ques 1. "When are you.....married?"

Ans.: Oh dear, Auntie....No one wants to marry me. Even your son has shagged me so many times but still refuses to take my hand in matrimony."
4. 2007-02-10 13:05  
if i'm visiting my "in-laws" for the first time this CNY, what should I buy? any dos and donts? advice?
5. 2007-02-10 15:32  
Would like to share some experiences with 'airbornesg' on visiting the in-laws during CNY and the dos and don't.

Before the visit, ensure that you find out what they like to eat during the CNY, eg Pineapple tart, Bak Kwa or even abolone. Make a trip down to shop for these and ask your partner to give it to them b4 CNY. Your partner must tell them how long you actually queue under the hot sun and scouting around for the best pineapple in town etc.

Your must try to visit them on the 1st day of CNY and the best time is before noon.That means no late nite party on the eve hor. Bring along 2 oranges. Usually you will exchange that with the mother in -law.Remember to wish them good health and prosperity.

Don't be stingy when it comes to compliments..Give your compliments if you notice that the flower arrangement is beautifully done or the unique New Year decor she bought or even the beautiful dress she wears that day..This will break the ice and starts the ball rolling.Trust me, women like compliments and she will loves you so much after the visit.

Try to stay till lunch or even dinner cause this will be a good time to continue the bonding with the in-laws. If you like certain dishes, ask if she actually cook that and compliment the great culinary skill she possessed..Pls Pls help her do the washing of dishes even you hate that so much.

Remember, all these will help you score points and make your partner proud.

Good luck and Happy New Year :)
6. 2007-02-10 16:07  
Thanks for a hilarious insight & thoughtful tips. It could be a theme for a gay sitcom. Brilliant.
7. 2007-02-10 20:08  
Indeed, CNY is always the most challenging festival for chinese gay community.
Wish all of us can come back and shine in a piece :)
Happy CNY 2007!!!
8. 2007-02-10 21:19  
Where have you been Alvin?
I have missed you :)
9. 2007-02-11 02:59  
Q: When are you getting married?

A: Actually, I'm saving up for a trip to one of the countries where gay marriage is legalised. Can you lend me some money?


At some relative's wedding,
Noseyparker to you: So, when's your turn?

At some relative's wake,
You to noseyparker: So, when's your turn?
10. 2007-02-11 12:47  
Alvin, missed you! You were gone for so long, where have you been sister
11. 2007-02-11 17:35  
love this article, and the comments posted!

have a fantastic week!
CNY is approaching.
12. 2007-02-11 18:09  
This is a very funny article. Loved it. An option is to say if u love me then u love my partner no matter what sex.
13. 2007-02-11 18:19  
that all sounds to familiar ...haha ...wel I guess thats because they have to keep giving you Angpow year after year ...lol ( I am sure they will supported legalised gay marriage coz then they dont have to give you Angpow ..just wonder if that question arises in other people's New year Celebration ...

Happy New Year to all of you and many cute returns

14. 2007-02-12 01:40  
Answer Question 1: I am, you weren't invited to the wedding.

Answer Question 2: Straight after my drugs rehab finishes

Answer Question 3: Which one of YOU is?

Answer Question 4: Sleep? Just shut my eyes.
15. 2007-02-12 07:56  
Question : why are you going over to s'pore again? I hope its not a repeat of the last 'situation'...

Answer: Oh no Dad.... I'm going over to find a job ... Don't worry... I've organised all accomodation. I'm staying with one of my 'mates'.

Envy to those whose families who've accepted you :)

P.S. What chinese new year mood ????? still stuck in this s##t hole .....
16. 2007-02-12 19:01  
this thread is great.

if everyone keep posting, we can have our own guide to answering annoying questions!
17. 2007-02-12 19:02  
Thank you Alvin. Chinese New Year is war zone all over town. It's one of the worst atrocities of civilization.
18. 2007-02-12 21:53  
This article looks so suspiciously familiar, I'm pretty sure I've read it somewhere before...
19. 2007-02-13 10:54  
Good Qs and As here. I am waiting and keep viewing this thread for more and more wise words.
Comment #20 was deleted by its author
21. 2007-02-13 15:39  
What a looossseeerrr~~~~~

Can't believe Fridae ripped off SGBOY's old story! See http://www.cryce.blogspot.com
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30. 2007-02-13 17:42  
Before one were to cast stones, one should look back at an article entitled "Going Lunar Over The New Year" written by Alvin Tan and published on 27 January 2001 - yes, way back in 2001 - on fridae.com.

Perhaps the editor could be so kind as to provide a link to that article so that readers would know that this article is an extension of the previous?

And it would certainly give a better perspective of which article truly pre-dates the other and who's ripping off who.

Sigh ...
31. 2007-02-13 20:23  
Wow...over at sgboi, there was originally a thread about this ripping off incident, but it was removed suddenly. This prompted one to suspect that probably it's sgboi who has been ripping off Alvin's article all along. Boo to them and hail Alvin, the undisputed original writer. Cheers to fridae!
Comment #32 was deleted by its author
33. 2007-02-13 21:03  
Dear Chrix888,

This Princess doubts the situation is as you have described.

One suspects it's more the case of mischief makers trying to stir up trouble between the two websites.

34. 2007-02-13 21:10  
Dear Mdm Princess,

it's up to you what you believe in. I saw the thread with my own eyes and now it's gone and I only believe in what I saw. Guilty conscience at work here.
35. 2007-02-14 00:39  
Well, its a bit like Christmas time or other similar holidays world and culture wide. I used to get the same questions from some of my own family. They gave up now or just died off. Its generational too, to a large extent. My 30'something cousins never would think to ask these personal questions and they figured out a long time ago that I am gay anyway and they don't care. My own strategy was/is to switch the conversation a tell horror stories about friends or from the press who have disaster straight marriages, eg. divorces, ruined children, blah blah. I have adoptive kids too so that kind of moves the conversation away from wives to kids. We are all different, try what works. Michael
36. 2007-02-14 01:26  
hang on. wasn't this like posted on another website?
37. 2007-02-14 10:21  
I'm a fan of Ryce's writing when she was at sgboy. I think she's a good writer.

But I'm surprised at her outburst. Looking at the two articles, I don't see any "ripping off" at all?

Does that mean that once she writes on how to survive CNY, any other gay/lesbian writer who write on the same topic is "ripping her off"?

I'm also disappointed that in her previous articles, she writes about gay men like they're her good friends - but her "gay faggot" remark betrays her true self.

You've lost a fan.
38. 2007-02-14 10:23  
funkiichile, you mean here?

39. 2007-02-14 12:32  
So both articles have a few Q and A format jokes... and that makes it a rip off? Right...

Excerpt of Sgboy article:

5. Qn: "Haiyoh, how come never bring your girlfriend again this year?"
Ans: "She's busy trying to think of the same answer at her own relatives' place." (and flee)

4. Qn: "So old already! How come not going to give your poor parents grandchildren?"
Ans: "Some people aren't just meant to procreate. I'm trying to save the word from a third world war. I'm expecting to receive a nobel peace prize any day now."

3. Qn: "Aren't you a little old to still be collecting ang paos?"
Ans: "Oops, sorry. I was planning to collect till the day I move to my new premises - six feet underground."

2. Qn: "You're no longer young! When are you going to stop fooling around and settle down?"
Ans: " *Gasp* How did you know?! I was just going to make a family statement that I'm going to be a monk. You know? Collect good deeds for the family."

1. Qn: "Hmm.. you're looking more and more.. hmm.. interesting every year."
Ans: "Haven't you heard? There are so many lesbians now, I figured this is the best way I can get a girl to fall in love with me."

Not funny :(
40. 2007-02-15 19:42  
good one kellen.

i think she trying to attract attention and get people to visit her blog and her "writing".

sad hor?
41. 2007-02-17 11:07  
Well done Fridae!

Your articles are v popular at gay forums.

42. 2007-02-18 12:50  
This fabulously gay writing. The Q&A session is a great way to generate amusement and a sense of fun in a difficult family circumstance.
43. 2007-02-22 13:44  

It would be chinese arrogance to continue this term.
As, the authour have correctly put it, " Known as the Spring Festival in China, 'Tet in Vietnam and 'Sol' in South Korea "

It is a festival celebrated by many asians of non chinese descent, the Vietnames call it Tet and the Koreans Sol, many nations in asia celebrate that too especially in the northern hemisphere.

It is an occasion that marks the change of season, the end of winter, and it tells the farmers when to prepare the seedlings for sowing, in time for the summer harvest before the next cold sets in.

You might find it interesting like the author described, the chinese themselves ( especially the 1.6 billion in China ) do not call it Chinese new Year but, 'Spring Festival' or 'Lunar New Year'.

Refrain from that term, to be more inclusive as it is a celebration for all, not just the chinese and that includes all of us. We had enough discrimination and let us not exclude others who share this festival in the same spirit.

I hope you take my comments positively and it is written with no intention to injure.

Happy Spring Festival !!

with inclusive love ,

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