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'No visits, no problem’: Some millennials welcome respite from nosy relatives, hectic visits this Chinese New Year

SINGAPORE — Unable to leave the country as she usually does over Chinese New Year, Ms Peh dreaded having to face intrusive and personal questions from her relatives during the festivities this year.

Some millennials in Singapore welcome the respite from the usual round of family visits this Chinese New Year.

Some millennials in Singapore welcome the respite from the usual round of family visits this Chinese New Year.

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  • Some millennials in Singapore welcome the muted Chinese New Year celebrations this year
  • The restrictions on visiting means that they will not have to put up with intrusive questions from relatives, some say
  • Others welcome the opportunity to sleep in instead of having to go through a hectic visiting schedule
  • On the other hand, there are those who will miss the large, heartwarming gatherings


SINGAPORE — Unable to leave the country as she usually does over Chinese New Year, Ms Peh dreaded having to face intrusive and personal questions from her relatives during the festivities this year.

“They always ask intrusive questions like ‘How much are you making’ and ‘Why was there no banquet at your wedding?'” Ms Peh said. She got married a little over a year ago, and declined to give her full name to avoid incurring the wrath of her in-laws.

To escape such questions, the 31-year-old has tried to avoid family reunions in the last few years by travelling overseas during the festive period.

However the Covid-19 pandemic has granted Ms Peh, as well as other millennials in Singapore, a good excuse to enjoy a less hectic festive period this year.

The Government has limited visits over the Chinese New Year period to not more than two households each day, and has capped the number of visitors in each household to eight unique visitors each day.

That means that this year, the younger set will be spared the usual frustrations that they say come with family reunions, including nosy questions from relatives and hectic visiting schedules.

“Now, I don't need to answer questions like when I’m going to have a baby. Some people just don’t want to have a human baby, lah, can?” Ms Peh said, referring to how some couples see their pets as their "babies".

The cyber-security executive plans to use the government restrictions as an excuse to “worm out of visiting” a number of her relatives this Chinese New Year.

“This year, I’m reclaiming my sanity. I will eat with just my in-laws on Thursday evening for reunion dinner and visit some relatives the day after. After that, it’s back to work on Tuesday for me,” she added.

She is not alone in welcoming the muted celebrations this year.

For Mr Ong, 34, the Covid-19 restrictions mean that he will not have to receive hongbao (red packets containing gift money) from relatives who force him to take them, and then proceed to make him feel bad for accepting the money because he is unmarried.

“For me, I don’t need hongbao, so keep your money. I’m a working professional and perfectly capable of supporting myself,” Mr Ong said. He, too, declined to give his full name to avoid being identified by relatives.

A manager at a healthcare company, Mr Ong added that receiving fewer red packets this year also means that less paper is wasted, which is better for the environment.


Other millennials said that they looked forward to a less hectic visiting schedule over Chinese New Year and more time to sleep in or have meaningful conversations with relatives.

Ms Alyssa Chua, a 27-year-old civil servant, said that she usually has to visit seven houses on the first day of Chinese New Year. This involves having to wake up as early as 6am to get through a “very intense” visiting schedule.

This year, the restrictions will finally give her some time to sleep in, she said, adding that she is “not a morning person”.

Mr Maximilian Sin, a third-year undergraduate from the National University of Singapore, is looking forward to fiinally having some free time over the holiday period.

The 24-year-old usually spends all of the first two days of Chinese New Year visiting various relatives. Relatives then visit his home for an open house the following weekend.

This time around, he will have to visit only one household on Friday. This means that less time is wasted travelling and more meaningful time can be spent with a smaller group of relatives, Mr Sin said.


Mr Winston Tay Wen Hao, a 23-year-old first-year undergraduate from Nanyang Technological University, said that he is all for having “better mental health” this Chinese New Year.

“Every Chinese New Year is a constant struggle when your aunties and uncles almost ritually compare you with their sons and daughters,” he said.

Among the questions he has had to put up with are why he chose to study at a polytechnic instead of a junior college before joining a university and why he has yet to find a girlfriend.

“I’m glad that legally, these questions will not be possible in 2021,” he quipped.

With fewer visitors to his home, Mr Tay is also looking forward to having more food for himself this year, and plans to eat 60 per cent of the pineapple tarts in his home.

The only downside? He will not be able to finish the Chinese New Year goodies from other households, he admitted.


Although they were glad to be rid of the usual hassles accompanying the festival this year, some millennials rued the loss of large family gatherings.

Mr Ong, the manager at the healthcare company, said: “Sure, there are annoying questions, but it is also heartwarming to see everyone being physically together in the same space — a very rare occasion in the current age.

“It will be hard for such mass gatherings to take place in the next one to two years.” 

Ms Chua the civil servant said that she will miss dressing up and visiting the homes of family friends, to whom she is much closer.

Ms Peh, however, insists that she will not miss anything at all.

Calling the festivities “wayang” (meaning a show in Malay), she said: “If I wanted to connect with close friends and family, I wouldn’t wait until Chinese New Year. I’d connect with them any other day.”

Related topics

Chinese New Year millennials Covid-19

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