Chinese New Year obligations

February 18, 2015

With Chinese New Year round the corner again, I'm getting more and more stressed out. Even before the obligatory yearly visits, I already know what are the questions I should be expecting.

"How old are you?"
"Where are you studying?"
"What course are you in?"
"Do you have a boyfriend?"
"Where's your boyfriend?"
"How come haven't grow taller?" (I actually find this rather amusing wtf)

And the one I dread the most...
"Why don't you talk more?"

I've always been this awkward and shy cousin since young but I always felt the need to talk and try to fit in because my father has always told me, "you need to be more social."

I always thought I was abnormal because I hated what most people seemingly loved to do. 

But now that I've grown up, I know that we all have different comfort levels and for me, I'm just not a people person. I get anxious in crowds, I get panic attacks when I'm around too many people I don't know. I prefer to keep my thoughts to myself because I don't have the nicest thoughts but people only like to hear nice things about themselves. So just because I'm quiet doesn't mean I'm unhappy. 

Maybe I'm quiet because I don't understand your language (my paternal family speaks in Singaporean hokkien while I only understand Malaysian hokkien). Maybe I'm quiet because I don't find the need to make small talk with the people I'm only gonna see once a year. Maybe I'm quiet because after a whole day of socialising, I just want a moment to myself to relax and recharge.

I'm a bit fickle-minded on the Chinese tradition to do house visiting. I love visiting my relatives but I don't like having to do PR with the other relatives that I don't even know existed just for the sake of it. Yes, I love the angpaos I'll be getting (hey at least I'm honest) but I hate the dressing up to impress people you'll never see till the next CNY, the exchange of social pleasantries, the CNY greetings that you don't mean, and the fake smiles.

On the other hand, but I will do it if you are special to me. I don't like people assuming that I would/wouldn't want to socialise. I'm rather capricious on this I guess. Let me break it down to you.

1. I don't mind socialising with my friends' family or having a gathering with the friends of my close friends occasionally because I know there are some occasions whereby there is an absolute need for this. I don't like being excluded with the excuse of "oh, because I thought you were awkward." Nice try wtf. Thankfully, none of my friends are like this and I'm grateful for that. (People guilty of this: ex-boyfriends)

2. I don't mind socialising, but not when you give me a notice at the eleventh hour. I need time to prepare myself, I need to rest a few days before and after socialising, I need to brace myself for that day (wtf). I hate it when I'm informed at the last minute and I have no choice but to attend the social event. It usually turns out better than expected but I'm a nervous wreck before that and I don't like it.

If I bother to try socialising with the people around you, it really shows how much you mean to me but if you don't help me or see the effort I'm putting in then I'm sorry, but it will never happen again.

I don't like people much - be it hanging around them or just people in general - and I'm okay with that. I don't understand why do people make a huge deal out of it.

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