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2021 anti-social guide to surviving Chinese New Year

By Team HardwareZone - 12 Feb 2021

No choice, you've been dragged to a family reunion

No choice, you've been dragged to the family reunion

Okay, the plan to stay at home entirely has backfired and your now a visitor at another household. Now what? Well, you can still try to avoid as much face time as possible.


Quickly identify the correct Chinese term for addressing relatives

Unlike the English equivalent of greeting your relatives where you tag "in-law" to people related by marriage, the Chinese system uses a detailed naming format that accurately identifies the exact relation, down to their seniority and birth-sex. 

 The 姨媽姑姐 - Relative Title Calculator app is here to help, although you’ll need to know some Chinese to use it. All you need to do is punch in the order in which the two of you are related, and the app will spit out the correct title. The calculator-style interface is pretty intuitive, so you’ll want to have this with you the next time you have to navigate the treacherous waters of your pesky, multi-generational family.

Get it here!


Outsource auspicious greetings to an app

When tossing the yusheng (lohei) or generally wishing well onto others, the much-uttered CNY auspicious phrases don't really see much variance. So if you're keen on saving your saliva, or if you're conscious about being unnecessarily loud, try the Lohei Butler by Lianhe Zaobao and Chinese Media Group. Lohei Butler is one of several browser-based CNY soundboards circulating of late, since you technically cannot even mention auspicious phrases when near food for the time being.

To save yourself from additional headache, share this little helper with others so your phone or smart device won't be commandeered by nosey relatives at the dinner table.

Check it out here!


Fake a call to get away from awkward conversations

Faking a phonecall to escape an awkward conversation is an all-time classic move, but how do you pull it off convincingly? If you use an iPhone, Fake Call Plus is a lifesaver. In addition to tapping a button to immediately initiate the fake ring, you can schedule it to call you at a specified time. Heck, you can even add an audio track to make it sound like the other party is talking when you answer the call. 

Get it here!


Distract hosts and guests by casting or streaming good shows

Viu - streaming site for East Asian shows and dramas.

If the relatives are too nosey, make sure you come equipped with a Google Chromecast dongle for streaming - you're gonna need it, and it's gonna help a ton.

Why? Because nosey relatives cannot control themselves around good drama. What better way to distract them with a literal drama series on their telly? Plug your Google Chromecast into a USB port on the TV, borrow their Wi-Fi to set up, and start streaming from a preferred streaming app. If you pick well, you get to go back to your phone while the hour ticks away. Before you know it, it's time to be a good guest and leave graciously.

Heck, there are at least 30 Stephen Chow movies on Netflix Singapore, and they are extremely effective at distracting people during CNY. Of course, you'll need to purge your watch history if you're particular about having a clean feed. Don't forget to collect your Google Chromecast from the back of the TV when you're done.

If you haven't already started curating your distraction list, you can head over to Netflix or Viu to do so now.


If all else fails, 'comply.'

Source: Lee Hsien Loong's Facebook page.

The CNY celebration guidelines are designed to strike a balance between social responsibility and harmonious merry-making. It isn't quite the comprehensive checklist for the true germaphobe or misanthrope, so here are some personal well-being "enhancements" you can make to shorten visits or be uninvited for future ones. Obviously, these are burn-bridge-last-resort-means-justifying-the-end ideas, and shouldn't be enacted unless you have the conviction to follow through.

  • Have every person you come into contact with take their temperature regularly, for everyone's safety, of course.
  • Set up a manual, personal SafeEntry-like tracker via Google Sheets on your phone, and have your hosts/visitors also declare other close contacts in the span of two weeks before and after, because you can never be too sure.
  • Insist on having hand sanitisers and getting everyone sanitised regularly because of hygiene concerns.
  • Personal portions of food and no communal sharing during meals, best if can sit sufficiently apart to minimise risk, since you see them only once a year.
  • Above all, stick to the existing guidelines, and encourage your peers to be responsible.

It can only go two ways - either they'll agree to these enhancements to sate your legitimate concerns, or they'll start weighing the ROI of uninviting you from this year's (and perhaps future) celebrations.

Watch Next: More tech tips for surviving CNY visiting!

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