A Personal Reflectionby Daphne Kwok
As we celebrate Chinese New Year with the community of San Francisco, I remember my first Chinese New Year in San Francisco. Having lived in the suburbs of Washington, DC almost my entire life, I moved to San Francisco for a full immersion as a Chinese -American. I cooked a traditional New Year dinner with fresh fish from Chinatown. Being a suburban girl having never bought a real live fish, I came home with the fish flapping around in a plastic bag! Little did I know I should have asked to have it cleaned and scaled! A live fish for dinner to me meant that it was live until I cooked it! Lesson learned for my future New Year dinners!
New Year celebrations are the epitome of how Chinese and Chinese- Americans express our love for one another through abundance of food, abundance of family time, abundance of prosperity, abundance of traditions. I reflect fondly on the traditions that played a significant role in my life from paying respect to my elders, receiving “hung bao”, to our family New Year’s Eve dinners surrounding the table set with whole fish, whole chicken, and “tong yuan”.
For those members of our family, our community, our society, and our nation who are struggling to put food on the table, struggling with social isolation, struggling with the inability to see loved ones, struggling day-to-day, let us all extend our hand to provide care and compassion for others from this time forward.
AARP has always been and continues to be a proud sponsor of the San Francisco Chinatown Chinese New Year parade, honoring the history, culture, and resilience of the individuals, organizations, and businesses that have built and served the community for decades.
This year, more than ever, we all need more love and support. Not just among family and friends, but from the community and world at large. Just like the ox, I encourage us all to continue to be strong, no matter the obstacles that stand before us, and continue to maintain our cultures, traditions, and expressions, by adapting, being flexible, being creative, while staying safe and healthy.
And in this Year of the Ox, will you join me in pledging to make this year the year of the xOXo? I will be looking for opportunities to serve others, whether through personal financial donations, through giving of my personal time, or sharing individual stories unveiling the real lives of our “family” for all of us to support. Let us continue to move forward with the promise of love and support for a better new year.