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Chinese New Year greetings

January 25, 2012

The first Chinese New Year greetings any foreigner learn is probably : Kong Xi Fa Cai (发财) or Kong Hee Fatt Choy.  FaCai  (发财) or Fatt Choy 發財(in cantonese) means striking it rich.  There is nothing wrong with that, most southern Chinese love the idea of suddenly becoming rich (either from their business or bonus from the boss, or even striking the lottery).  Normally on hearing that, I will just roll my eyes a little and if it’s a foreigner, learning to say cantonese or trying to be nice, I’ll forgive their “ignorance”. But I resent these kinds of wishes. And because I think they were “bad” wishes, I do not give them myself.

I felt more comfortable with: Xing Nian Kuai le  新年快乐(Mandarin happy New Year) or San Nin Fai Lock 新年快樂!  Or others like : Shenti Jian Kang (身体健康 –body, good health) and the following ones I like in particular which are also ones I give most frequently :

  • xiao kou chang kai (笑口常开)
  • xin xiang shi cheng (心想事成)

I got a calendar from the local Chinese buffet that says Ying Chun Jie Fu (迎春接福).  Fu 福 (or Fook in cantonese) is the most commonly seen Chinese character used for Chinese new Year.  And this fu is superimposed by a Long 龍 (dragon).  How appropriate!  It’s the year of the dragon and one has Long Fu instead of just ordinary Fu.  (I don’t know how to fully explain 福 , but cut and paste and use any online translate if you please). Below is a BIG 福 on the calendar I was given:


Ying Chun Jie Fu

But this one is an exception:

Fa Cai la!

This one is an exception.  Notice it has the Fa 发 on it.  But it is funny and the English translation says “Happy Cup” and I liked how funny it looked with the 見錢眼開 on its left eye.  And besides, it reminded me of what most people say “Huat Ah!” during the yu-sheng 鱼生 period, although ironically, this is a Cantonese tradition — why are the Hokkien nd Teochew doing it their own style like it’s some kind of old Hokkien or Teochew traditions. I wonder.

So “Fatt Choy” is an idea I abandoned long, long ago.  Although I am far from being “enlightened” or coming closed to being a sage or a saint., I think maybe I can try to follow something close to what these three fellow Singaporeans (featured in sg.Yahoo )

can do (and have done).  But for a start, I can maybe try doing my job really well like: teaching my students by lighting a fire in their bellies;  stay committed to those who wants to learn.  Then try the more difficult task of reaching slightly beyond like removing the 五戒, or attempting The Noble Eightfold Path.

Happy Dragon year everyone.  祝大家:心情开朗!


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