I wish I could talk about other things than the most-used words such as Covid-19, pandemic, MCO, the new norm, and all that related to pain and the evil virus. Obviously, we can hide, but we can\u2019t get away from it, yet.\u00a0 My Chinese neighbour has started decorating her house with beautiful red lanterns, big decorative banner with a New Year\u2019s greetings and door couplets wishing for good luck and auspicious year. It is that time of the year, the Lunar Year.\u00a0 Credit: Balay.ph Having a kind Chinese neighbour next door has been a great experience for my children. They would stay up till midnight to enjoy the blasting firecrackers and looking forward to the routine this year. My youngest was took by surprised when Charlene told her that there will be no firecrackers this new year. As announced by the Senior Minister, Dato' Sri Ismail Sabri last Thursday, the celebration of welcoming the Year of Ox will only be allowed for family members living in the same house. No big family gathering for the dinner, no visiting, no firecrackers and no lion dance, at least not until everything settled down.\u00a0 Of course, the news won\u2019t be everyone\u2019s favourite and it is not a surprise when there are heavy criticism and widespread backlash on social media. As being explained, the Chinese religious bodies and cultural associations have been engaged in preparing the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the holidays. However, the latest news came in to conclude our weekend with the allowance up to would be limited to 15 family members living within a 10km radius and must not involve interstate or inter-district travel. The latest SOP regarding the reunion dinner and Chinese New Year celebration. (Credit: Twitter @Bernama) Yes, it is awkward when there will be no firecrackers and lion dances at the mall during Chinese New Year. So, I can empathise on the \u2018awkwardness\u2019 for not being able to have the traditional big family dinner reunion with everyone on the eve of Chinese New Year.\u00a0 Celebrating The Year of Ox Out Of The Box Explaining the situation to the kids might be a challenge. Despite getting used to not being able to go out freely due to the MCO, the kids obviously are looking forward to the big reunion dinner to meet their dearly missed grandparents. So, not being able to meet and celebrate Chinese New Year the traditional way is the last thing they would want to hear.\u00a0 Credit: The new age parent My neighbour is using the empathy mode to explain to their kids. They were telling the kids during last Raya and Deepavali, the Malays and the Indians were unable to have big gathering and visits to the family as well.\u00a0 To live up the New Year Celebration, they prepared the decoration extra special this year. They really want to instil positivity to the kids. It is cute to see lovely Chinese Paper Cut Art made by the kids hanging around inside and outside the house. They had fun crafting it themselves.\u00a0 Ms Lee has also made arrangement to have a virtual teleconference with the whole family members who are everywhere including in East Malaysia on New Year\u2019s eve. Yes, they might not be in the same roof, but that shouldn\u2019t stop them from having dinner together, virtually.\u00a0 She also planned to give angpows via the interbank transfer and to make it extra special this year, she is buying gifts online for her nephews and nieces and hopefully, they were delivered just in time for Chinese New Year.\u00a0 Of course, they will still dress up for the celebration. She had everything arranged and the kids do look forward to wearing their new pair of clothes.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Credit: Kids craft As for the food, she has nothing to worry about. Their favourite restaurants have made it easier for the food can be ordered online and delivered just as they\u2019d like it. Ms Lee planned to arrange food delivery to her parents and in-laws too.\u00a0 I love the positivity that my neighbour showed when she shared her New Year plan with me.\u00a0 We couldn\u2019t get the best out of everything, but we could make the best out nothing. Let\u2019s pray hard that this \u2018difficult\u2019 time will soon be gone and let\u2019s work together to stick to SOP. The least we could do is to consider the effort and sacrifice of the frontliners in combating this virus. Let\u2019s stick to #kitajagakita mantra.\u00a0 May this Niu Year bring us happiness, joy, health, success and wealth abundantly.