In Chinese culture, oranges are typically associated with good fortune due to its homophone association with the word ‘ gold ’ in the Cantonese dialect. During Chinese New Year, the Chinese phrase ‘ Kǔ jìn gān lái ’ （苦尽甘来）, which means ‘ bitterness ends and happiness begins ’, is often heard alongside the act of gifting mandarin oranges to family and friends as a symbolic gesture of wishing good fortune for the recipient.
In current times, that phrase is an apt outlook.
We have been through a lot in recent years. Alongside the rest of the world, Malaysians have experienced the terror of Covid-19 as affected loved ones pass on from the virus, withstand two years of lockdowns, face the uncertainties of losing livelihoods, and watch on in worry as both international and local politics drive up the cost of living.
The year 2023 has begun, and it has started with a cautious yet tentative sense of hope in the air. While all is not completely well – what with Covid still around with new variants cropping up, and portents of a potential recession on the horizon – there is still a silver lining in the clouds that is slowly shining a little brighter each day.
Malaysia has adapted admirably during these turbulent times. We have mostly returned to something that resembles normalcy despite our post-Covid environment, and we have a newly elected government that seems promising in establishing much-needed stability in terms of cost of living, job opportunities, and increase in social protection.
But change is not without its birth pains. We will have to gird and brace ourselves awhile more, to be cautious and frugal our lifestyle before the benefits of change can fully materialise. But we can also afford to be generous and charitable with our family, friends and community, because recent events had shown us that Malaysians are indeed resilient and united in our hope for a better future.
As such, in the spirit of ‘ Kǔ jìn gān lái ’ （苦尽甘来）this Chinese New Year, let our greetings not be empty words. Let it be a promise to support each other as we move forward in 2023 and make ‘ bitterness end and happiness begin ’ .
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