Wishing everyone a Happy Lunar New Year!
Hopefully the celebrations are more responsible and careful than the way we celebrated the calendar New Year just one month ago, when the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was happily piggybacking on the many parties and gatherings being held all across the country.
As a person of non-Chinese descent, it doesn’t feel like the Lunar New Year will have the same impact when it comes to causing another surge, but since the proper celebration of what is called the Spring Festival in China takes half a month, it may be too early to say. However, I would like to think that we all learned our lessons from the 2021 holiday season when too many of us let our guard down despite knowing deep in our guts that Omicron was lurking.
Here in the Philippines, where the Chinese New Year is reduced to one holiday on the calendar, there will be no mass migration. We do that during the Undas and Christmas holidays instead. However, in China, their Ministry of Transportation is expecting 1.18 billion trips to be made during this season. That may seem like an impressive number, but it must be noted that before the pandemic, 3 billion trips were taken for the Lunar New year. The Alert Levels have recently been lowered in some parts of the country but it doesn’t look like the CNY celebrations will cause another significant surge here.
Whatever CNY gatherings that were or will be held, hopefully it is just among the smallest bubbles or nuclear families. We already saw how bad it got because of the combination of the holidays and Omicron and now that the numbers of COVID cases are finally going on what looks like a downtrend, we cannot afford to slip up and start from the beginning all over again. At least there is still no Bacolaodiat Festival here in Bacolod. We might be able to beat back this surge and allow ourselves to start from a better position if we can resist the urge to gather. If that happens, then the Lunar New Year could be the right New Year that gives us hope for a better 2022.
I don’t know much about the Water Tiger but I’m hoping that this is the magical animal that will signal the end of the COVID pandemic.
One aspect that Lunar New Year always seems to focus on is good fortune. Those who celebrate it do as much as they can to attract as much of it at the start of the New Year. There are lucky colors, lucky decorations, lucky food, and all sorts of traditions and rituals that are supposed to bring in luck for the coming year. After all we’ve been through over the past two years, we need all good fortune we can attract. Hopefully our Chinese friends are doing all they can to gather up all the luck in the universe and spread it around so 2022 becomes the start of a better era for us all. It’s also not too late for us to try so if you know any of the lucky stuff, it might not hurt to give it a shot.
However, at the end of the day (or the start of the year), we have to remember that luck and fortune are not the same. While they are often used synonymously, their meanings are far from identical. The main difference between the two is that luck is considered to be a result of chance while fortune is generally considered to be a result of an external force. The lucky can get rich at the casino, but good fortune comes to those who make the effort.
I has been tiring hoping that we could still get still over the past 2-6 years where mediocrity has become the norm. This Lunar New Year, let’s channel our inner water tigers and resolve to wash out the all the bad luck that we’ve allowed to accumulate with a roar, and start doing the work necessary to finally improve our fortunes.
The CNY celebrations is our first opportunity to make 2022 better. If we can make the sacrifices necessary to beat back COVID to early December levels, convince the unvaccinated to get jabbed, and slowly and carefully ease our way back to economic recovery now that we’ve seen how a month of carelessness can mess up all our hard work, this year could be so much better than the past 2 years.
Then, if we want to extend whatever wins we make in 2022 to beyond, we will have to get our act together as far as choosing the next set of leaders for this country is concerned. The elections are coming up and it still looks like a lot of us are still depending on luck when choosing the candidates they support. Let’s make our own fortune better by choosing the best available leader and not settling for any of the lesser evils out there, and certainly by avoiding those that are outright unqualified, even to be a cashier at a fast-food chain because they can neither get a police or NBI clearance nor provide a university degree.
While we can hope and pray for good luck, let’s do what we can to turn our fortunes around this year of the water tiger.*