Expat family feels community warmth during holiday
The door of Janice Yeo's home opened and closed many times as the clock moved toward noon on Thursday, Chinese New Year's Eve. To celebrate their first Lunar New Year in Shanghai, the Singaporean family prepared a big meal for themselves and their friends in a Singaporean way.
In the past, they returned to Singapore to celebrate Spring Festival, but due to the pandemic they are staying in the city this year.
Their house is decorated with Spring Festival couplets and ornaments. A large table sits in the middle of their living room for well-cooked traditional Singaporean cuisine prepared by Yeo, her husband and son.
"I got up at 5am to prepare the food," Yeo said. "I prepared some of the spicy dishes yesterday. The Peranakan stewed beef took us four hours to cook."
With everyone sitting around the table, the family served the most special dish — Lo Hei — where slices of fresh vegetables, crackers, sweet sauce and salmon are mixed together. With chopsticks in hand, they discussed their wishes for the coming year.
As the founder of a group of ukulele players called "Uku Angels," consisting of people from different countries who perform community outreach through music, Yeo played ukulele and sang songs with everyone after the meal.
People working for the neighborhood community in the Biyun International Community in Pudong's Jinqiao Town where Yeo's family lives paid a visit and gave them holiday gifts. For Yeo and her family, the kindness of the community, their neighbors and friends made them feel at home.