5 most awkward situations you could face during Chinese New Year

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We all know Chinese New Year is a breeding ground for awkward situations – the usual suspects being senior kinfolks with probing questions or competitive streaks. But does it get any worse than this? Oh yes, it does. Here are five most awkward situations you could face during Chinese New Year.

1. Checking out an attractive stranger when you’re house-visiting, only to realise the person’s your cousin.

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You could probably only make this mistake if (a) you’re such a hermit that you don’t even know who your cousins are, (b) that person is one of those distant cousins you never knew about, (c) you’re used to relatives bringing friends over for house-visits, or (d) you’re ridiculously single and desperate for love.

2. Addressing your relatives wrongly because you forgot who they are.

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Is it 姨妈 (yi ma) or 姑姑 (gu gu)? 叔叔 (shu shu) or 舅舅 (jiu jiu)? What’s worse is if you have multiple aunts/uncles and you can’t remember which one’s which – “Are you my second aunt or third uncle?”

3. Getting caught sneaking a peek at a red packet you just received… by the person who gave it to you.

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If you grimaced a little while staring down at that envelope of money, you can pretty much forget about getting any more from that person in the future. When you’re just not that close to your relatives, Chinese New Year becomes an occasion you tolerate to collect all the cold hard cash you’ll struggle to keep for the rest of the year. But hey, at least be discreet about it.

4. Being asked about your ex, who you came to house-visit with last year, by relatives you’re not close to.

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You were with them when your relatives last saw you, and now you’re not. Naturally, your typically nosy aunts and uncles would want to ask about them. This isn’t just awkward; this is painful – especially when you’re not quite over the person who you felt comfortable and close enough to invite over for Chinese New Year house-visits.

5. Getting inappropriate remarks from drunk uncles.

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Well, this can happen even without the help of alcohol. As long as they remain clueless about what boundaries are, your uncles (or maybe even aunts) will blurt something out about the way you look, or something along those lines, without thinking twice about censorship.

Sounds like hell, doesn’t it? But hey, at least one good thing will always come out of all the Chinese New Year celebrations and family reunions: Money.

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