updated 29 Mar 2014, 05:33
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Tips on how to answer your relative's questions at Chinese New Year
by Sara Jane Ong

We all love Lunar New Year, but there is one thing that we cannot stand ‒ the annual questions about our private lives, the interrogation about when we're getting married ‒ so here are a few tips on how to survive those dreaded questions

Chinese New Year is the time when you finally make time to meet your extended family and the relatives whom you've never met before in your whole life or meet only once a year. For some of us, it's our favourite festival of the year, getting to dig into tubs of festive goodies and receiving red packets from various aunties and uncles.

However for some of us, Chinese New Year is a disaster waiting to happen ‒ a sea of aunties pinching your cheeks exclaiming, "Oh my, you've grown so big!" or torturing you with the same old question every year about when you're going to get a boyfriend, tie the knot, or worse still, have a baby.

We all know how it feels, so let us help you out! Here are some tips to answer some of the questions that you really can't stand answering during the festive season, so you can be spared more interrogation, and enjoy the Lunar New Year without the hassle.

1. Why don't you have a boyfriend yet?

This is one of the most common questions women get asked every Lunar New Year, especially if you're over the age of 25 and doing well in your career. If anyone asks you this question, just smile and say that you want to focus on your career, and wait for the right one at the same time. Love is about getting the right guy, isn't it?

2. When are you going to get married?

With most of us part of a career-driven society, our job obviously comes before tying the knot. That being said, many older people still ask this question because to them, marrying late or not marrying at all is just about the worst thing a young adult can do. The best way to combat this is to tell them you want to build up a stable income before settling down ‒ meaning having enough money to get a house and a car, before getting married. This way, your relatives will know you are mature, and thinking seriously about your future.

3. You're not very young anymore, when are you going to have a baby boy/girl?

Argh, this question. Every relative wants a adorable and chubby baby grand-nephew or niece to play with next Lunar New Year, especially when you've barely settled in with your husband. Kids are a handful, we know that and you might just not be ready for them now. The best way to reply to this is to honestly tell them that you're not ready yet. Having children has to be something that you want, and not under pressure, and your relatives need to know that you aren't ready to take on the responsibility yet.

4. Have you put on weight? You seem a little chubbier!

Bam, right in the heart. These are the words no woman in the world ever wants to hear, unless they want to gain weight. Maybe it was due to pigging out during a very stressful year, and you had every excuse to do so, but those words will start making you feel guilty about all the times you reached into your fridge for a pick-me-up tub of ice cream. The trick is to not let yourself get upset over a comment, you're still beautiful. Just laugh it off, and say, "Thanks, but it's the festive season after all, why not enjoy myself instead of depriving myself of all this good food?" They might get off your back, and even respect you for enjoying your food without being overly self-conscious.

5. How much do you earn/what's your salary?

This is often a subtle dig from slightly haughty relatives who don't really like the job you have or think you aren't earning enough to support the family. Honestly, this is your own problem. If you're happy with your job and earn enough to get by, say so. A gentle reply that you earn enough and are happy with your life should keep them quiet. As they say, money can't buy you happiness.

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