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Where EAST meets the Northwest

From The Asian Reporter, V32, #2 (February 7, 2022), page 15.

A reset and a miniature dragon

Itís time for a reset.

Itís been a long year. Itís been a long two years, as a matter of fact. Itís time for all of us to come together, celebrate that weíve made it through a challenging period, and set our sights on a new horizon. And what better way to do that than to celebrate the annual Lunar New Year and 2022ís Year of the Tiger?

As a public service to our readers, Iíd like to highlight what the Year of the Tiger is all about and ways we can celebrate the occasion after two years of dealing with COVID-19.

The Lunar New Year is a time when people put the past behind them and look forward to a fresh start. What better time than now to try and do that? To top it off, this yearís zodiac animal (of the 12) is the Tiger, which symbolizes bravery, courage, and strength, as well as an uplifting spirit of hope, which couldnít come sooner after the past year.

So how do Asian Americans and their families welcome the Lunar New Year? Celebrations usually entail large family gatherings, red lanterns hanging from the ceiling, and a wide assortment of dumplings, spring rolls, whole fish, and noodles. The celebration wouldnít be complete without a row of performers covered by a long dragon costume dancing to the drums of energetic musicians. And to end the gathering, fireworks are lit to symbolize scaring off evil spirits allowing everyone to begin the new year fresh.

Since I take my public service responsibilities seriously, and because we are still in the throes of a global pandemic, I need to filter these traditional activities through todayís realities. That means I need to make some changes to the typical festivities. Here they are:

Change #1: Coronavirus precautions recommend that group activities be small and limited to family members. If you must invite others to the celebration, I suggest setting up a zoom call as an alternative.

Change #2: Having red lanterns with lit candles hanging down from the ceiling seems to be a bit of a fire hazard. Instead, ask everyone attending to do an online search of a red dragon and, from time to time, have them wave their phone in the air.

Change #3: The dragon dance can still go on, but since coronavirus protocols suggest we donít have more than four people at a gathering, the dragon canít have a tail. And because any drum procession will no doubt violate neighborhood noise curfews, an alternative music source should be considered. May I suggest Yanniís greatest hits?

Change #4: Fireworks? As with much of the country, weíre in a drought with dry conditions in California. That means no fireworks. But if the objective is to scare something away, perhaps one member of the party should periodically yell out, "The timeshare presentation is about to begin!"

Honestly, I canít think of anything scarier.

So, what do we have left? A massive zoom call with a very short dragon dancing to Yanniís new age music and uncle George screaming about a timeshare presentation.

What were we celebrating again?

Truly though, happy Lunar New Year, everyone! We all endured the last year. Iím thankful we made it through a challenging time.

Joy is the simplest form of rebellion.

Humor writer Wayne Chan lives in the San Diego area; cartoonist Wayne Chan is based in the Bay Area.

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