Chinese New Year, New Perspective


It’s the first day of the lunar new year. It’s the year of the dragon, which means my brother is turning 48 this year.

Last night a few families got together and celebrated a “reunion dinner” (of sorts). Lots of meats. And beers… I had also got some new year biscuits to add to the atmosphere and some angpows got distributed too. We were at Gerry and Jesslyn’s new home and their little soon-to-be two year old is an absolute darling and all of our favourite. Brian and Doreen, as well as Jason and Mel and families were there, together with a couple of Gerry’s relos. Kiddo, Tress and a few others got stuck into a card game so that sort of rounded up the new year mood. It’s good to share this time with folks who have become family to us.

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I’ve been reading something which has made me wonder if I have lived my life under a wrong understanding of self and people around me, all along. I’m yet to find out if David Goldman is a Christian writer but even though I stumbled upon this book through a secular source, it has really resonated with some fundamental insights on parts of the scriptures.

For starters, it has made sense for me, how the west’ preoccupation with the individual and the legitimization of individual rights as the driving principle for all sorts of values and policies is really something which would undo humankind. The bit about loving and “finding” your life means losing it, comes to mind. In my early days of marriage, I had been misled by someone like Paul Ehrlich, and decided I didn’t want more than one child at the most. Reading this book sort of stirs up thoughts that tend to tell me I have been wrong for a long time. I have been equally wrong in thinking life is about enriching one’s own thoughts and understanding, which has created in me a love for the solitude, easily happy with a good book and a good piece of music in the background.

Increasingly, the importance of connection with others around me, including from an inter-generational perspective has been elevated as something that should have been propounded a lot more strongly. The idea that it is not about self but about the community, has taken on a more focused dimension even through just the first few chapters of David Goldman’s book. “How Civilizations Die: (and why Islam is dying too)” has been a good book to kick off the year for me.

 

 

 

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