In all my living years I had never been accustomed to the noise of the Lunar New Year. The streets would be swarmed with light, and every facet splashed with banners of red and gold, proclaiming wealth and happiness (on some banners - simply wealth, for wealth means happiness). Loud music blared, drums and cymbals clanged, incessant voices screamed lyrics promising luck that never happened to most. Music and noise would filled every living space, and everything would be bathed in red - for the monster who robbed us of our lives and riches was frightened by that hideous colour, and the noise would drive it away, bringing us luck everlasting and houses forever filled with gold.
This was the 3rd day of the Lunar New Year of 2015. We had done our visits and given our ang-pows. We had done our celebrations. We had had our reunion dinner, paid our respect to family, and caught up with close friends - the most meaningful activities to me. I took a stroll away from the glare. I walked a deserted path - a quiet street with damaged lights and broken fences - and faced a vast empty field overgrown with weed. Lallang, taller and quieter than humans, swayed gently in a silent breeze.
The sun was setting. The colours drowned and soothing. For a moment, the noise seemed a distant memory.