The Dragon, the Bear,the Squirrel in the Middle

Chinese New Year celebrations which last 15 days came to an end on Monday.  For many Chinese, it has been a time for family reunions when family members will travel from their far flung locations to start the festivities with a reunion dinner on the New Year’s eve; not dissimilar to the Thanksgiving tradition of the family gathering for the turkey dinner in the USA.

As far as family reunion dinners, this year’s one was quite novel and special for two reasons.  First of all, this is the first time Mrs. LGS undertook the task of cooking the entire feast by herself – a historic event in itself.  However, this year’s festival will also be remembered for being an East meets West summit.


My brother-in-law was the reason for this summit.  He recently and relatively suddenly married a tall, ex-model, Russian beauty (represented in the illustration above as the Russian femme fatale, Natasha).  She certainly stand out in a crowd and at least a head above everyone in my family (represented by average “meh” type grey squirrel, Rocky).

Please note that my new sister-in-law is great.  She is like Natasha only in that she is a head turner and not that she is an evil follower of the Fearless leader (for the few readers who have no idea what I am talking about, you may want to educate yourself at Bullwinkle Toon Zone )

My  brother in law’s mum (speaks Chinese and a little bit of English) flew in from Australia where she currently resides for the reunion dinner.  Sitting opposite her at the dining table and meeting up with the rest of the family for the first time was my BIL’s new Mother in law who flew in from Russia and speaks Russian and Tatar but almost no English.

I think BIL was definitely nervous of this meeting of the two cultures and had asked my wife and I to stand by to separate any hostile combatants.  However, after a slow start because every  conversation required Natasha to translate from English to Russian for her mum and from Russian to English and Chinese for the rest of us. There was also a bit of checking out the other side going on as the two mothers looked out for the interest of their children.

But, I am happy to report that the barriers did not take long to come down and we did not enter a period of Cold War but in fact the cagey maneuvering gave way quickly to very warm relations.  I cannot confirm or deny that some contraband vodka was involved.

Before too long, the two mothers were able to communicate through their own newly invented sign language.  Protocol dictated that the following night, we would sit down to a feast cooked and prepared by our Russian mother and  then the kitchen would be handed over to our Chinese mother for the  state dinner the following night.  If only Russia and USA could get on so well!

Anyway, I also had to play tour guide for my new Russian family members, bringing them to see the sights of Kuala Lumpur like the Petronas Twin Towers.  Every where we went, my Russian SIL had a very noticeable impact on the locals.  Typically, you would hear their jaws drop open and then they would comment on her stunning tall model looks, which kind of made me feel good about being with her ………. that’s until I hear them express surprise at the short dumpy “meh” loser escorting her!

Anyway, that’s how I spent my 15 days of New Year.  Hmmm.  I wonder if my new Russian branch of the family tree could link me to the Russian mafia.  Maybe they could help me with some slacked jaw and loose tongue locals that “dishonored” me! At least, get them to cough up a couple of bags of nuts.



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