Well said. I was beginning to think it was just me. I’ve bemoaned this a few times and on occasions been shouted down. My take on it is that it’s the lunar calendar, China, to date, doesn’t own the moon.
See also this greeting from Dave who arguably gets it most wrong:
“I want to send my very best wishes to everyone celebrating the Chinese New Year – in Britain, in China and all around the world.”
I can’t help but think this is a hangover from less cosmopolitan times when anyone with South East Asian features was generically regarded as Chinese in the UK. A couple of years ago at the British Council, London sent round best wishes for the Chinese New Year which ended up on Vietnamese desks.
In China it’s the New Year, everywhere else it’s the Lunar New Year. In Vietnam it’s Tet. No?
Working with colleagues from China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and the UK this week, I’ve stuck to saying Happy New Year of the Snake.
I was rather charmed by this little scene outside the back gates of the Hanoi Intercontinental Hotel this evening.
If I hadn’t been reminded of the Kitchen Gods earlier I might have passed by without giving it a thought.
But it appears the hotel’s chefs were taking a quick break to burn their offerings, sending the Kitchen Gods skywards with reports of their activities for the Jade Emperor ahead of the lunar new year.
I was writing recently of plans to gentrify the Old Quarter. I argued that for better or worse there are still large parts of Hanoi that are “real’. In trying to appease tourists you’d lose the very things that make Hanoi special.
This wasn’t a show for customers – though sadly I bet one day it will be.
My yearly dynamic has been much altered by the lucky break that is having both local and western holidays.
So two and a half weeks after returning from the UK for Christmas, it was time to Tet with another week off. We elongated that further with a couple of extra days in Laos, more of that later.
But the year of the dragon is upon us. The pics above and below were taken on a short walk around the assorted flower markets of Nghi Tam that spring up as Tet nears. It’s easy to see why flowers are so popular at Tet with everything else seeming so damp, wet and gloomy. Even with our dehumidifier running full tilt for days on end, when we unpacked our bags in Laos we realised that the clothes we brought with us were all wet. We dried them on the balcony before hanging them in the wardrobe.
This year seems like a pivotal one but then again they all seem to. Lots of resolutions – the top one being that I have to make a serious dent in learning Vietnamese. Currently work commitments mean that we both get in around seven, and that’s before we start on Cart business, adding language learning to that schedule is unthinkable so something has to give. And yet chipping away at this isn’t going to be enough – it needs a serious time commitment so something has to give.
My current design for life needs a few tweaks. Elsewhere, a little over two and a half years since I quit smoking, I need to use that same resolve to lose weight. Or rather it wasn’t resolve so much as something clicking in my head that made me put the last one out and not even want to re-light another. I need to see eating the same way. But no fad diet is going to do this – just a sensible and sustainable way of living.
So, both those are down here as a way of you and me holding myself accountable. In the parlance of my workplace HR, these are my deliverables for the year.