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Opinion: Let’s Question The Nosey Relative Stereotype For Smoother Chinese New Year Gatherings In 2024

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Let’s Question The Nosey Relative Stereotype For Smoother Chinese New Year Gatherings In 2024
Expect the phrases “nosey relatives” and “kaypoh questions” to make headlines as always during the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations.
These are common refrains, as well-beaten as the ones bemoaning long queues for new bank notes and calorie counts pitting festive snacks against bowls of rice.
The epithets would be kosher if the finger-pointing was distributed evenly – but the reality is older relatives often receive the brunt of the blame, with younger people airing their unspoken grievances about unsolicited comments and nosey questions on social media.
The media fuels this stereotype, compiling Chinese New Year ‘horror stories’ or ‘guides’ filled with backhanded ripostes to employ.
It’s hardly fair, and exceedingly mean-spirited given the conviviality of Chinese New Year reunions – or for that matter, all family gatherings – especially when such questions often stem from a place of genuine concern.
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Furthermore, curious relatives often do have a part to play in softening their approach too, whether it comes to making brutally honest comments or asking questions.
SilverStreak speaks to family counsellors, silverssilvers and their younger counterparts to find out just what makes nosey questions so aggravating to receive, and to hopefully find a way to successfully navigate Chinese New Year gatherings argument-free.
Beware the generation gap – nosey to one, may not be nosey to another
Let’s Question The Nosey Relative Stereotype For Smoother Chinese New Year Gatherings In 2024 - Generation gap
One major contributor to the tension between generations during Chinese New Year dinners is the difference in the way they communicate.
Silvers interviewed say they generally speak and ask questions directly and candidly.

"But I understand that people are a lot more politically correct nowadays and try to adjust accordingly."

Let’s Question The Nosey Relative Stereotype For Smoother Chinese New Year Gatherings In 2024 - Alliance Counselling counsellor
Intrusiveness aside, younger people interviewed also say that such comments and questions feel especially inappropriate given the convivial setting of most Chinese New Year get-togethers.
Understand the intent behind nosey questions and blunt comments
Let’s Question The Nosey Relative Stereotype For Smoother Chinese New Year Gatherings In 2024 - Understand intent
One way for people at the receiving end of nosey questions to deal with seeing red? Looking past the plain facts of the statement and understanding the intent behind it.

"It didn’t help my mood when I was already trying to deal with it. Sometimes, there’s a feeling that older people feel like they know how to fix everything."

"We usually only see these younger people once or twice a year, so that’s why we comment on the changes that we notice to start the conversation. Otherwise, we won’t know much else about what’s going on."

The repeated nature of such questions year after year, she adds, could also simply be a consequence of the memory and cognitive changes that people go through as they age, which can “affect social awareness”.
How to probe without prying for Chinese New Year 2024
Dr Assudani doles out tips and tricks to navigate Chinese New Year gatherings for both question askers and receivers.
How to take nosey questions on the nose without flinching

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