Growing up, weren’t you tired of trying to avoid invasive CNY questions? Distant relatives don’t know each other very well if they meet once a year, but as family, there is an expectation to have a sense of familiarity. This leads to seemingly-nosy questions about personal life from older relatives.
But they don’t mean to be invasive, of course. These questions come from a place of care as a family member.
A lot of responses on our previous article on annoying CNY questions showed that while the younger generation do want to connect with their elders, they also have a few ideas on how to make the process more comfortable for both parties.
We’ve compiled these suggestions to ease your digestion:
1) Be personal without being nosy
Yes, it’s always easy to ask about grades or salary, but these questions coming from an elder can sound demanding.
Instead, good way to get conversation rolling is to ask about their personal preferences, such as their hobbies or interests, or even about their goals and dreams.
You can even start a discussion about generational issues with your younger relatives, such as esports or tik tok.
2) Ask for recommendations
There’s just so much new technology now, no one blames you for not being able to keep up. So if you’ve been pondering certain decisions, it doesn’t hurt to ask a younger member of the family for their opinion. After all, they will probably know of a newer, cleaner, and easier technology to make your life better.
If not, ask about new movies or TV shows to watch. Ask about their favourite cafe or restaurant. You’d probably learn something new along the way!
3) Keep unsolicited advice to yourself
As elders, there can be automatic assumptions that we have all the experience in the world to give, so the younger generation has to listen.
That’s often not true and the youngsters face the world with a much different set of pressures and problems. They understand that and are simply too polite to tell you otherwise.
Even if you may feel that you have important things to tell them, each person needs to continue their journey on their own time.
4) Congratulate, not discriminate
No one likes to be told, directly or indirectly, that they’re not good enough. So if you’re asking about someone’s salary or grades, you don’t need to add your two cents unless it’s to congratulate them.
There’s no need to tell them that your friend’s son is the top of their grade and plays the violin.
5) Offer to teach them stuff (works best for food)
In Malaysia, there are so many delicious family recipes that don’t get passed down. If you have a particularly good family recipe, it can be as simple as asking if they want to cook this certain dish with you.
It’s a wholesome activity that can be done together that also has a delicious outcome! And ultimately, isn’t that what Chinese New Year is about?
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.