Tomorrow is the celebration of the Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year. For this year, it’s The Year of The Ox.

Unlike its western counterparts, Chinese zodiacs are defined on year — not months. For example, folks that were born in 1984 would be under the Rat zodiac, then 1985 would be under the Ox zodiac, and so on.

The Chinese zodiacs itself has its own story of origin. The Jade King, the benevolent ruler of the Heavens — some said it was the Goddess Kwan Im or Buddha — called upon animals to give respect to him. Twelve animals came, and the zodiac positions were given to them according to the order of their arrival.

Red color is the main star on the celebrations. It signifies happiness and good luck. That’s why you can see folks wearing red during weddings and celebrations (while black and white are frowned upon during festivities as it symbolizes mourning and sadness.)

This year’s Chinese New Year was far from celebrations. Restaurants are empty, while it used to be crowded with dining guests having their reunion dinner, chatting happily and tossing yee sang.

We were on this shopping mall, having our takeout dinner — several portions of pasta from our favorite Italian restaurant.

I strolled at the mall’s plaza. Looking at the Chinese New Year ornaments and decorations.

Some visitors walked by, but it was empty. It’s unusual for Kuala Lumpur to be empty during Chinese New Year. As one of major tourists destinations, there are always folks coming from outside the town or even foreign tourists.

They have this… Wishing Tree in the middle. Mall visitors wrote down their wishes on a piece of card and hang it on the tree.

And it seems, for the first time, every wish that I saw on the tree is not for one individual’s happiness or good luck.

The wishes are selfless.

“Wish for pandemic to end. Good health for everyone.”

And the loudest whisper of one’s longing is a selfless one.

“Everyone stay healthy and be happy. Happy Chinese New Year.”

May all our prayers and wishes reaching the Heavens.

Happy Chinese New Year, all. Stay safe and stay healthy.

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