A holiday that unites, no matter what

Petaling Jaya: The exodus of many Malaysians returning to celebrate the Chinese New Year with their families has begun.picture), 49, a lawyer practicing in Hong Kong, made his first trip after three years due to the country’s strict quarantine policy.

His visit was so special that this year he was able to go home to surprise his 74-year-old mother.

He said he was very upset about not being able to return to Malaysia for the past three years, and he missed his family in Batu Pahat.

Hong Kong has had one of the strictest travel restrictions over the past two years.

While most countries have reopened to international travelers little by little, Hong Kong has remained closed off from the world.

“I am going home with my wife, who is also Malaysian and works in Hong Kong.

“I didn’t tell my mother I was coming home; I wanted to surprise her and my family,” he said when I was called.

Tan said the journey back to Malaysia from Hong Kong was difficult, as he had to stop in Taipei and transit the next day before reaching Kuala Lumpur. Wages have also doubled after reopening.

Last year’s Chinese New Year was the fifth wave of the Covid-19 outbreak in Hong Kong, and almost all Hong Kong residents worked from home, and I was no exception.

He said, “I can just call my mother to say hello and wish her a Happy Chinese New Year.”

He said he missed those days when everyone went to the temple to worship and pray for blessings after the reunion dinner.

He added, “We have booked two tables at a restaurant for our reunion dinner this year and I am looking forward to meeting my family.”

Another Malaysian, who only wanted to be known as Sean, had been out of work for two months.

He had not told this to his elderly mother since he returned to his hometown of Alor Setar.

“I used to be so busy with work that I only had 3-4 days to go home for the Chinese New Year reunion dinner.

“I lost my job two months ago, and had to pretend like nothing was wrong and stay home for four days, as usual, to keep my mother happy.

“I plan to look for a new job after the Chinese New Year and I hope to find a job,” he said, having previously worked for a media production company.

The 36-year-old said he is using his savings to live on for now.

“I have a car loan to pay plus I have to do some shopping for Chinese New Year,” he added.