Local News

Young Observer: Early February Edition

With the start of February comes a very important holiday in many parts of the world: Chinese New Year, which is now more commonly referred to as Lunar New Year. Originating in China, the holiday holds a rich 3,500-year history and has influences in other parts of the world, including here in the United States. It began during the rule of the Shang Dynasty in 1600 BC through the worshiping of gods and ancestors and has evolved into a massive multi-week event with large celebrations, beautiful firework shows, and even zodiac animals that are associated with each year. This year happens to be the Year of the Tiger, an impressive and mighty animal. But how does the Tiger influence the year 2022?

In traditional Chinese culture, people who are born in the year of a certain animal receive that animal’s abilities and personality traits. So, people born this year will supposedly obtain the qualities of the beastly tiger. One of the most powerful animals in the jungle, tigers are courageous and active. They are also very generous and self-confident, believing in justice and helping others for the greater good. Tigers also have incredibly ambitious goals, and they will stop at absolutely nothing to reach them. This quality makes them natural-born leaders who are trustworthy and responsible. Finally, tigers are extremely competitive, meaning they will try their best to win any competition no matter how big or small it may be. If you were born in the Year of the Tiger (past Tiger years were 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, and 1938), you might be entitled to or already have these characteristics.

Did you know that the Chinese Zodiac Calendar is made up of 12 animals? According to lore, the order in which these animals would appear was determined by a race between all 12 animals. The Tiger actually placed third, falling behind just the Rat (my Zodiac animal), and the Ox. Although he is very competitive, the Tiger unfortunately did not win that race.  Lunar New Year is observed by many Asians including Koreans and Vietnamese and this year it begins on February 1 (when the first New Moon occurs) and ends on the February 16.   Fullerton is home to over 32,000 Asian Americans. Do you plan to celebrate with your family and friends?

Bark “hello” to Rally, a sweet Labrador Retriever mix. He is a very chill pooch. His favorite forms of relaxation are lounging lazily on his comfortable bed, getting his back scratched (Rally, while getting back-scratches—ahh, you’re right on spot….) and ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING to do with treats (Rallyism—finding one’s way to a canine’s heart through its stomach). Once you become friends with Rally, you’ll be BFFFs (Best Furry Friends Fur-ever) all your life.

He is an intelligent, sweet dog who will appreciate some training. Rally would appreciate a kind-hearted family with adults or older children to share ideas and theories together. Think Rally would make a good addition to your family? Call (714) 935-6848 or visit www.ocpetinfo.com.

Endangered Animal

Q: How can I help the Florida Manatee?

A: Florida manatees are dying because of collisions with boats, habitat loss, fishing gear entanglement, human harassment (that makes me cringe), and climate change. Florida manatees are massive, 1,200 lb. animals with sweet, gentle, easy-going personalities. They eat mainly floating, submerged, and shoreline vegetation. You can donate by phone (Call SMC at 1-800-432-5646), or participate in shoreline, beach, park, or roadside clean-up events in your area.

As I started my nightly skincare ritual, I briefly scrolled through TikTok and came across a video narrating the events of a tragic murder. Michelle Alyssa Go, at just 40-years-old, was deliberately pushed into the tracks of an ongoing New York subway on January 15. This had me thinking back on another recent news story where Asian American anchor Michelle Li received harsh backlash for commenting on her culture’s traditional New Year’s celebration that includes rice cake dumpling soup. When fellow Asian Americans demand for better representation in the media and entertainment industry, we’re not asking for more news headlines detailing gory hate crimes. But the reality is that our society is heavily alarmed by any individual who seems “too foreign” or not “American enough.”

Rice cake soup is a staple Korean dish and the accent to our Jan. 1 celebration — a delight that I grew up eating as a fellow Korean American. This offended viewer attacked Li, telling her that she was being “very Asian.” As a mere spectator, I didn’t know how to react to this outrageous comment.

In a country like the United States, which prides itself on being a heterogeneous nation and the melting pot of cultures, it’s awfully confusing to be shamed for my ethnic differences. Some customs may be more foreign than others but staying educated and learning the boundaries between cultural appropriation and appreciation is the best approach to maintaining diversity. In no way am I forcing individuals to adopt new traditions from unfamiliar countries. But it is our responsibility as a society to reconcile with these differences and respect such diversity because this is what makes our country so unique. 

Asian is a major facet of my identity, and it is my role to preserve the customs of my people.

For the past decade, a new celebration has been recently associated with Valentine’s Day: Galentine’s Day. It is a blend of gal and Valentine’s Day and is a day for women to celebrate their friendships with their female friends. This festival falls on February 13, Valentine’s Eve, a day to shower one’s lady friends with affection, attention, and love, whether she is single or not.

As Monday, February 14 approaches, here are some interesting facts that you may not have known about Valentine’s Day: Did you know that this ancient holiday began over 1526 years ago and has continued to thrive? Originally a feast day and a time to honor one or two early Christian martyrs including Saint Valentine, this day has eventually become a significant cultural celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world.

Sending Valentine’s cards is a well-known tradition in the United States to celebrate this holiday. Sending Sweethearts, or conversation hearts, are also a very popular Valentine’s tradition. These small sugar candies were first manufactured in the 1900s and have been around ever since. In addition to these candy hearts, over 36 million heart shaped chocolates are gifted. Valentine’s Day is all about sweetening the world and I am topping it off with a Valentine’s Day joke I drew.

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