Surviving Chinese New Year With the Family

Below is a song performed by the Rainbow Chamber Singers in Shanghai. In Chinese, it’s titled “A Spring Festival Survival Guide.” (Chinese New Year is commonly called Spring Festival.)

In China, where an individual’s business is the family’s business, the questions are unremitting: “How much do you earn? Why don’t you have a better job? When will you marry? When will you have children? How did you get so fat?” Throughout the ordeal, the cornered victim must maintain at least the appearance of filial respect to his or her elders. (Hmmmm. Doesn’t sound that different from my family and relatives asking similar questions many years ago on Boxing Day get togethers.)

The video also carries the English title “What I Do Is For Your Own Good.” (Has anyone reading this not heard that line at least once?) The lyrics — English subtitles provided — and music are by Jin Chengzhi, who is also the choir’s conductor. The verve of its performance and its universal theme cry out for fuller treatment. How about a musical?

Watch, enjoy and Happy Year of the Rooster!