Amazing Kids! Magazine

Chinese New Year in Malaysia

By Alexis Miu Ching YAU, age 12


Fluorescent lanterns hang from the rafters of the open-air restaurant.
Beneath, people happily chat in Mandarin with their families
While passing bright red and gold Hong bao to each other.
The smell of the sour plum sauce wafts through the air
As a huge platter of Yu Sheng is placed in front of us.

“Gōngxǐ fācái, Shēntǐ jiànkāng!” I hear my relatives shout.
As we all dig our chopsticks into the explosion of color and toss the ingredients,
Carrot, cucumber, pickled ginger, pomelo, radish, and raw salmon fly into the air
Along with plum sauce, peanuts, sesame seeds.

As we eat, we hear a commotion—the clashing of cymbals and the beating of drums.
Jumping from one pole to another, a lion shakes its golden mane.
As the red- and gold-clothed acrobats dance underneath it, holding up the head and body,
The massive lion dances to the drumming, rhythmically stomping its fluffy feet
And swinging its head so quickly that the flaming red fur
Is nothing but a beautiful, bright blur in our eyes.

Lettuce hangs from the rafters, and the lion’s thick eyelashes blink
As it looks up, hungrily chomping its huge, white teeth.
The drums pound louder, and the lion picks up the lettuce,
Breaking it into little pieces and spewing them out into the audience.

Midnight approaches.
An array of colors covers the dark sky with flashes of flame red and amber yellow.
The deafening sound of gigantic crackling fireworks booms in our ears
To scare away the Nian monster, who lives in the Chinese mountains
And comes down every Chinese New Year.

The night has reached an end.
As acrobats drop to the floor, exhausted from dancing,
“Gōngxǐ fācái, Shēntǐ jiànkāng!”
We cry.

‘Hong bao’ – Red packets, given to bring good fortune
‘Yu – sheng’ – A traditional Chinese New Year dish consisting of carrot, cucumber, pickled ginger, pomelo, radish, raw salmon
‘Gōngxǐ fācái, Shēntǐ jiànkāng’ – Happy Chinese New Year, wishing you good health!

One comment

  1. Amazingly written. Well done 🙂