Gong hay fat choy! I suppose I should be hearing that a lot more lately. My daughter’s pre-school was closed yesterday because of Chinese New Year, so why haven’t I heard anything about it other than a few friends on Facebook mentioning the year of the rabbit.
San Francisco has a huge Chinese population, 60% of the city is in fact Asian and the Sunset District where I hide out is probably even more Asian than that. We used to jokingly call it the “Chinatown Annex“. I even had a friend drive me home many years ago and after a trip down Noriega Street he remarked, “I didn’t know you lived near Chinatown.”
Well, he was from Marin so I can cut him some slack, but every year around Chinese New Year you’ll start hearing the firecrackers going off like it was 4th of July, maybe a few skyrockets that were illegally obtained, the usual. Some of the stores on Noriega, Irving and Taraval will start sprouting up big red and gold banners and all of the Chinese people you see on the street are smiling.
So what’s up with dat this year? I haven’t heard one firecracker, I don’t see anything in the paper and I have yet to hear of the announcement of the Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco on TV or in the newspapers. I don’t hear non-Chinese trying hard to say, “Gong hay fat choy” to Chinese friends or even weirder any one they think is Chinese on the streets. This is the time the Chinese call “tuan yuan” which means reunion. It’s kind of like all the Chinese coming together to celebrate their friendship and families and the fact that they’ve made it through another year successfully. They all exchange red envelopes with gifts of money [not drugs as my father used to think, no really, I’m serious] to each other to show their prosperity. The only place I’ve seen red envelopes for sale was at the health food store I wrote about yesterday.
Well I did read something that may explain the somber tone. Apparently some Chinese think that this might not be the greatest coming year which might usher in terrorist threats, natural disaster, an 89 year old Oakland minister claiming the end of the world on My 21st? What’s next will Brad and Angelina break up because they were married in the year of the rabbit?
Well at least The San Francisco Symphony’s Chinese New Year symphony is sold out, but I don’t even know what date that is or when the Chinese New Year parade is going to be televised. It was always a guarantee around our house that we’d order out from one of our local Chinese Restaurants for the night of the parade and would sit in front of the TV watching while we stuffed ourselves with Kung Pao Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, Mongolian Beef, egg rolls, you know all the usual “white people chinese food” 🙂 I did try one of the cakes with a hard boiled egg in it once [which a Chinese friend I was working with couldn’t believe because even he thought they tasted nasty], only once and you well never get me to order jelly fish or sea cucumber from a Chinese restaurant.
Now will somebody please tell me what day the parade is so I know when to order the Chinese food to stuff myself with?