Chinese Communities in SE Asia Celebrate Year of the Tiger

BenarNews staff
Manila, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Penang, Malaysia

Visitors take a photo in front of a tiger lantern at the Dong Zen temple in Jenjarum, Selangor, Malaysia, on the eve of the Year of the Tiger, Jan. 31, 2022. [S. Mahfuz/BenarNews]


Thais take pictures inside the Wat Mangkon Kamalawat temple in Bangkok, Jan. 31, 2022. [Yostorn Triyos/BenarNews]


Philippine monks follow COVID-19 protocols as they pray to mark the Lunar New Year at the Seng Guan temple in Manila’s Chinatown, Feb. 1, 2022. [Basilio Sepe/BenarNews]


A vendor arranges boiled chickens to sell at the Old Market in Bangkok’s Chinatown, Jan. 30, 2022. [Yostorn Triyos/BenarNews]


The five-generation Lim family gathers for a reunion dinner to mark the Chinese New Year in Penang, Malaysia, Jan. 31, 2022. [A. Ammaruddin/BenarNews]


Filipinos purchase charms to celebrate the Year of the Tiger at the Seng Guan temple in Manila’s Chinatown, Feb. 1, 2022. [Basilio Sepe/BenarNews]


A woman prays at the Wat Mangkorn Kamalawat temple in Bangkok, Jan. 31, 2022. [Yostorn Triyos/BenarNews]


Workers hang a few of the 6,000 lanterns at the Thean Hou temple in Kuala Lumpur, Jan, 30, 2022. [S. Mahfuz/BenarNews]


People release birds to celebrate the start of the Lunar New Year in Surabaya, Indonesia, Feb. 1, 2022. [AFP]


Indonesian police patrol around a temple in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Feb. 1, 2022. [AFP]

Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, ethnic Chinese communities in Southeast Asia nations are ringing in the Year of the Tiger as best they can.

In Bangkok, members of the Thai-Chinese community changed their buying habits as they prepared for feasts to mark the start of the Chinese New Year.

Because pork prices have climbed as a result of a deadly outbreak of African swine fever at pig farms, many revelers were shopping for other meats to replace pork for festive family dinners, according to the daughter of a meat-shop owner at the Old Market in the city’s Chinatown.

“No matter what the economy is, they are willing to pay for the faith they inherited from their ancestors. Pigs were expensive, but ducks and chickens sold better. And the pigs can still be sold even though they are expensive,” Miss Sukanya, who asked that her last name not be used, told BenarNews.

In Malaysia, the government allowed travel this year despite the pandemic so people could return to their homes to mark the holiday.

The two-week new year’s festival is the biggest holiday for Chinese communities as people honor deities and their ancestors. Red symbolizes good fortune – so money often is distributed in red packets during family dinners.

Basilio Sepe in Manila, Yostorn Triyos in Bangkok, S. Mahfuz in Kuala Lumpur and A. Ammaruddin in Penang, Malaysia, contributed to this report.


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