Point of View: Macao’s Aussies wish China Happy New Year of the Ox

The old saying goes, “life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker.” It’s funny that I was thinking about my good old days back in Australia this morning as I saw the the workers putting up nice decorations in the shops all over Macao.

I lived in Perth, Western Australia (WA) for nearly three decades. Back in those days, I was amazed that every year in the city of Perth the Chinese community arranged all sorts of celebration events in the heart of Northbridge. You’d see firecrackers, parades and lion dances with little children in their lovely Chinese costumes enlivening the atmosphere.

Sir Billy Chan

It attracted a lot of Australians from all walks of life to cheer on the side or join in the parade. They even had kung fu dancing to the beat of the big drums with special cultural performances on Lake Street. Many were simply attending their special dinner parties along James Street too, with lots of nice dishes and VBs on the tables. Those good times of fun and joy live vividly in my memories.

It is nice to see that the community is thriving with young and elderly, knowing Chinese people were in WA since the founding of the colony back in 1821. It took almost 80 years for the community to form the first ethnic association in Perth. The old Chung Wah Association building is still standing proudly along James Street today. And they are still actively involved with the Lunar New Year events today. Gosh I do miss home. During this dreadful COVID-19 pandemic, I am sure the celebration this year back in Australia will be a little different due to all sorts of precautions.

Nevertheless, I extend my best wishes to everyone in Australia and the over one million Chinese Australians living and working in Australia who are celebrating the New Year of the Ox, commemorating this beautiful historical tradition before stepping into autumn weather in the southern hemisphere.

It’s fantastic to share with mainstream Australians these special colourful, dynamic culturally rich traditions that have been observed for centuries by many Asian cultures such as those from Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia. And of course, Chinese New Year is celebrated all around the world.

Here in Macao, I am sure our AustCham members will enjoy the real Lunar New Year (our Spring festival), a nice holiday that we can all meet up for to raises glasses with loved ones and good friends. Perhaps we should all say in Cantonese Kung Hey Fat Choy, Gong Xi Fa Cai in Mandarin, and Feliz Ano Novo Chinês in Portuguese to everyone in the Macao community.

I’d better prepare some red packets for the children and get into the mood to celebrate the longest Chinese holiday here in Macao. So alright my mates; Kung Hey, Kung Hey, Kung Hey Fat Choy to all of you! May the year of Ox bring us a more healthy and prosperous new year!