Monday, 15 February 2010

Happy New Year of the Tiger

A quick Happy New Year to our Chinese readers, and best wishes for the Year of the Tiger.

What's this got to do with Thailand you may ask? Plenty. You see, the Thai people largely originated from the southern parts of China, especially Yunnan province and -- in a slow and deliberate mass migration --worked their way down over the mountains before settling in places like Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. And why wouldn't you ... beautiful mountains, fertile plains, excellent rivers and harbours for trade route potential, and 7-11 stores everywhere.

Many Thais still have a strong connection with Yunnan, travelling there or even studying there. But mostly the first and second generations have integrated strongly with the Thai community, taken on Thai names, and don't follow any of the Chinese ceremonies too religiously.

So Chinese New Year is acknowledged in decorations at shopping centres -- the rows of red lanterns up at Siam Paragon and the decorations at The Emporium in Bangkok come to mind as good examples -- but there is no public holiday for it. Which is a big plus point for tourists. I've been in Singapore over Chinese new year and the whole place shuts down. Tumble weed in the streets. Jing jing! But here, it's business (and pleasure) as usual.

So happy year of the Tiger from a Tiger; that's me. Just reading this card here. It says 'the tiger is said to be lucky, vivid, lively and engaging.' But if you've read any of my blogs you'd realise that's complete nonsense. Well, except for the lucky bit. Lucky my ancestors decided to migrate to Thailand all those years ago ...

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