I enjoyed reading Native Speaker (1995) by a Korean-American novelist Chang-rae Lee a couple of years back. Not that I identified myself with any of the Korean-American immigrants portrayed in the book, but that some of the conversations were quite alive. One of my favourites, which I still remember and often mention, goes like this. One day Henry Park, the main character of the book, was chatting with a Caucasian colleague of his, Janice. She said, “[…] There were so many Asians at Berkeley. In fact all of my friends were Asian. There wasn’t anyone else. All my three boyfriends in college. Actually, they were, in a row, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.” Our rather reticent Henry only asked two: “What were their names?” and “Which one did you like best?” Janice immediately asked back, “How come every Asian man I mention this to has to ask that?” Henry then casually added, “We’re competitive.”
Non-Asian readers of my blog wouldn’t probably find this scene particularly sharp, but I am certain that anyone from one of the three countries will see what I mean, for one reason or another. In fact, I occasionally find myself wanting to pose such a question in similar situations – from food or films to mobile phones. So, what I am trying to say by all this is simple. I am annoyed by the fact that everyone calls it Chinese New Year’s Day. It’s ours, too! It’s a New Year’s Day for all the countries sharing the lunar calendar!
Hmmm, in any way, it’s the year of the pig, a symbol of good luck and prosperity. This time, it is a golden pig year, which is even a bigger deal as it comes once in six decades. Wishing all of you the best. (The lady pig in the photo below is one that I have had my eye on for a while at a shop on the high street. 🙂 )