10 quirky characters at Chinese New Year gatherings

Chinese New Year is a lively occasion where we get to meet up with relatives and friends during the reunion dinner or at open houses.

For those of us who are quite observant of our fellow guests, we may notice that certain types of behaviour are commonly seen in the people we know so well.

1. The Interrogator

Every family has at least one aunt (or uncle) who sets aside some time to bombard a particular nephew or niece with the usual list of personal questions, about studies, work, relationship, marriage or children.

2. The Scrooge

To put it lightly, this person is certainly no god of prosperity. It is understandable that not everybody can afford to hand out red packets so generously. However, handing out anything RM1 or less is especially stingy among family members.

3. The Card Shark

Most Chinese New Year gatherings would not be complete without a game of mahjong, poker or blackjack. A true shark partakes in these games knowing that they will walk away from every gathering with slightly fatter wallets.

4. The Snack Monster

This is often a younger person whose natural habitat is right in front of the table laden with yummy festive snacks. They do not need to be told twice to "help themselves" as they will spend the day loading up on prawn crackers and pineapple tarts.

5. The "Tax" Collector

That one cousin whose sole purpose in going to Chinese New Year gatherings is to collect the most ang pow from uncles and aunts.

6. Bragging Parents

Some Chinese families tend to place a lot of importance on how well their offspring do in life, placing unwanted expectations and social pressure on them. Unsurprisingly, it becomes an annoyance to the younger generation whenever aunts and uncles compare the achievements of their children.

7. The Fashion Police

More often than not a female in the family, the "fashion police" always has something to say about what her relatives are wearing. Their verdict can be yay or nay.

8. Drinks Like A Fish

Most typically a male, this relative or friend always looks forward to a free-flow. Do not be surprised to find this person tipsy and surrounded by beer cans by the time your visitors are ready to leave.

9. The Socially Absent

This character is getting increasingly common among younger Malaysians. Older family members are often vexed at the sight of a younger person paying more attention to their mobile phones beside them than chatting with their relatives and friends.

10. The Dishwasher

Not every family has domestic helpers, so for the ones that do not, there will normally be at least one family member who habitually volunteers to clean up after everyone else.