Widespread Backlash Over CNY SOP : Why Should A Family In One House Visit Each Other & When Reunion Dinner Became Regular Dinner?

A deputy minister has taken to social media to criticise the government’s Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations next week.

Deputy national unity minister Ti Lian Ker said the SOPs must be rectified immediately.

“Someone has screwed up totally here. This SOP must be quickly withdrawn and rectified! This is not an SOP, but a forbidden city,” he posted on Facebook.

Similarly, many other politicians and other individuals alike have taken jabs at the government’s SOPs, which were said to be culturally tone-deaf and unnecessary.

Many had even joked about the SOPs for the CNY reunion dinner, calling it by definition just another family dinner at home.

Senior minister for security Ismail Sabri Yaakob today announced the SOPs for the CNY celebrations, which among others stated that reunion dinners and religious ceremonies will only be allowed among family members living in the same house.

At the same time, he also said night markets (pasar malam), barber shops, hair salons, and car wash services will be allowed to operate until 10pm effective tomorrow.

Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming tweeted: “Ismail Sabri says that CNY reunion dinner is only allowed for those who stay in the same house. Errrr… sane people call that regular dinner, not CNY reunion dinner.

“At least allow families in the same district or area to gather for CNY reunion dinner lah (Max 10 or 15 pax).”

Meanwhile, comedian Dr Jason Leong said on his official Facebook page: “So during this MCO (movement control order), I cannot visit my parents for CNY as we live in different houses but it’s okay. My family and extended relatives are all meeting up to at least say hi and exchange angpows … at the nearest pasar malam.”

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Former deputy agriculture and agro-based industry minister Sim Tze Zin said the Chinese New Year SOP did not make any sense.

“Family living in same district can visit each other now. During CNY it is banned. Let’s wait for the U-turn again!” he said on Twitter.

Another Twitter user @mthanean also joked about the SOPs, saying that CNY now stands for “Celebrate Next Year”.

User @jsadiq similarly called the SOPs “a joke” and questioned why there needed to be special procedures lined out for family members who lived in the same house.

“The CNY SOP is a joke. When is a reunion dinner not a reunion dinner? When it’s the same family members in the same house. Don’t they meet daily? Why is there a special SOP?

“The same with visits. Why should a family in one house visit each other? They live togetherlah. ‘Gila’ (crazy).”

He also pointed out that the reunion dinner falls on the eve of CNY, that is Feb 11, but the SOPs were stated as being applicable for the first two days of CNY.

Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lim Yi Wei also criticised the move, asking MCA to advise Perikatan Nasional (PN) on cultural awareness.

“Their idea of ziarah = knocking on each room door since it’s ‘seisi rumah’ too?

“We also don’t really watch Chinese opera. @MCAHQ can you please advise PN to have some cultural awareness,” she said.

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