Culture

Ready to louhei? Toss to the JOY of family

Kenneth Chew & Joanne Kwok // January 19, 2017, 2:07 pm

Fruit of the Spirit-08

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT: CHINESE NEW YEAR EDITION

As Singapore turns red, gold and pineapple ahead of Chinese New Year, all we can think of at Thir.st is CNY goodies. To justify the calories, we unearth the spiritual lessons to be found in each traditional treat.

On the seventh day of Chinese New Year, we put down our calorie-filled jars and pause for a salad – yusheng or louhei – salad, the Chinese way. The family gathers around a giant plate of colourful mounds made of shredded radishes, turnips, pickled ginger, sun-dried oranges and many, many more – each with a symbolic meaning for the new year.

Raw fish, because 年年有馀 (abundance). Pomelo, because 大吉大利 (luck). Crispy bits (my favourite!) because they look like gold ingots. And the list goes on. The Chinese language is great for puns.
We’ve seen up to 27 different ingredients on some plates!

Yusheng: 20 seconds of pure joy. So let’s toss to joy this CNY.

But the real joy in yusheng comes at the last step, when everyone grabs their chopsticks, jockeys for space, elbows weaker cousins out of the way … and the action begins. Whether you’re shouting out new year wishes in Chinese (HUAT AH!), or Christian blessings in English (BLESS AH?!), tossing yusheng is a collaborative effort that is filled with laughter and good family fun.

It’s 20 seconds of pure joy.

If you think about it, yusheng is pretty much like family, isn’t it? So many different personalities, memories and aspirations all mixed together. Some of it is sweet, some sour, some even raw. Sometimes it gets really messy, and stuff may hit the (ceiling) fan #truestory.

But rising above that kaleidoscope of crazy flavours is a blend so special and unique to the humans who made it that no two yushengs are quite the same. That is the beauty of family.

So let’s toss to joy this CNY. Grab it with your chopsticks, lift it high like a banner over your family. And no matter the mess that comes with it, thank God for giving you a family of your very own.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. (James 1:2-3)