Every year, I hear or read a news report along these lines here:
It’s Chinese, or the lunar, New Year today, and Asian communities all over New Zealand are coming together with their families to celebrate. It’s the Year of the Rat, which means it will be a lucky and prosperous year.
Sometimes they’ll append the last statement with ‘says [insert prominent Chinese New Zealander]’ or ‘says [insert name], president of the New Zealand Chinese Association.’
I know this because one year I was the name inserted, but you need the context, and there’s never any room for it since it’s usually the last story in the news.
Here’s how the interview tends to unfold.
‘It’s the Year of the Rat next year. What’s that going to bring?’
‘Well, it really depends. Every year has its own energy, and it applies differently to every person depending on their bazi and the trend of their year. It’s like western astrology: different strokes for different folks.’
‘But do you reckon for some it’s going to be lucky and prosperous?’
‘Yes, for some it will be.’
Bingo. There’s your closing sentence. ‘It’s the Year of the Rat, which means it will be a lucky and prosperous year, says local Chinese man Jack Yan.’ And that’s why every year, the news report is a cookie-cutter item about an ethnic community really into luck and money.
I mean, if you lived in Wuhan right now, you’ll probably be saying it’s going to be a shit year because your New Year’s practically been cancelled and you can’t see your whānau while your city’s in lockdown. I think the closest equivalent would be, for an American, Thanksgiving being cancelled, and for many, Christmas being cancelled.
Incidentally, I’m not sure why the WHO held back on declaring the corona virus outbreak an international matter. Did they not know the New Year is the greatest migration of humans on this planet? Repatriating Brits after Thomas Cook collapsed is child’s play. And now we have the people suspected of having the virus arriving in certain other countries.