As Yu Yan left a roaring crowd for the airport to head home to Beijing from Shanghai, her very existence a living defiance of ennui; I was rather puzzled here in Singapore: why are so many Chinese people gathering with their families over the Dragon Boat Festival?
The Dragon Boat Festival is famously known to be as a day commemorating the suicide of a patriotic poet. So, what do family gatherings have got to do with such an occasion? To which, Gray who had went back to Fuling remarked as thus:
Because we're Chinese.
Implicit in her declaration is the unspoken truth that families are important to Chinese people, so why not? Any excuse for a family gathering.
Curious, I searched the festival a little and walked away believing that Dragon Boat Festival as a translation is as minimal and as partial as translations go towards representation. So the Dragon Boat Festival which takes place on the fifth day of May on the lunar calendar also has something to do with warding off evil, and hey it's the day that Madame White Snake's husband discovered that he quite literally had a snake on his bed. Like, so much culture.
It is not without a little tinge of regret that I realise I am where the road ends for a lot of the traditional culture things that my family partakes in. Where did the leaves that my mom uses to wrap dumplings in even come from? What ingredients did my grandma used in her homemade soup that I've never tasted similar elsewhere? Yet I cannot pick up cooking, and I can foresee myself desiring a DIY traditional culture taster pack for yet-to-exist offspring. Though as far as offspring is concerned, for now I'm having lots of fun previewing a kid and a cat over the cloud, without the commitment, it's that thing where I just look at cute photos and videos of them on WeChat and go "awww" without needing to be the person changing diapers or scoping up feces. Maybe this is the sort of conditioning programme that governments ought to invest in to increase the Total Fertility Rate. But, whatever.
Looking at the amount of money we pour into Mandarin education and the ever deteriorating standard, it is major sadz but indeed it seems like money can't solve all problems. With culture, perhaps it needs to come from a place of love rather than economics. Don't talk price, talk values and axioms with me.