• Lunar New Year – Tet Vietnamese Festival
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    Vietnamese Lunar New Year falls on the same day as Chinese New Year. It was (and still is) my favourite time of the year as a young child. My sisters and I would eagerly wait for the auspicious red packets to be handed to us from our parents and our older relatives. They were considered lucky money and were given to young children and the elderly. We would always compete with each other on who got the most money and red envelopes by the end of the day. It was a lot of fun teasing the least successful recipient. What were we to do with all this money? Personally, I couldn’t wait to spend it all on food, rides and games at the Tet Festival! The carnival was once held at a park in…

  • Fortune Cookies – Happy Chinese New Year!!
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    Gung Hei Fat Choi!! Happy Chinese New Year!! I absolutely love this time of year. It’s my version of Christmas. The streets are decorated with red and gold signs, lanterns and flowers. They are also full of people lining up to watch the parade of lion dancing, firecrackers, and talented musicians smashing away on huge drums and gongs. Everyone is so happy and giving, wishing you good fortune for the new year to come. Isn’t it wonderful! My huge family always gathers together for a feast and silent prayer. Don’t get me wrong, I am not religious but I feel a quiet grace when I thank my ancestors and the deities that be, for the good fortune that I have presently and for the…

  • Monte Carlo Reception – Celebrating 30 Years in Australia
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    I was only 10 days old when my parents escaped war-torn Vietnam in 1979. They, along with half of our hometown, Camau (located on the southern tip of South Vietnam), jumped on boats and made the brave and dangerous journey towards freedom. After Ho Chi Minh took power and the threat of communism was fast becoming a way of life, my parents (and many others) were sent to re-education camps because they were of Chinese-descent. Almost everything that was worth building a future with was taken away from them, for fear of a revolt. My parents had to sell their precious belongings to a black market to feed their 5 daughters. Brave, but full of fear, they boarded strung-together boats to look for…

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