One very common question I get is whether Xin Long is based on me. The short answer is no. We’re very different people. However, since Dragonhearted is based on Chinese culture and more importantly, shines the spotlight on Chinese New Year, it’d be appropriate to unveil how some aspects of her childhood are all too similar to mine, just for fun.
- Xin Long and I have had our fair share of yucky reunion dinners, probably because children are picky and don’t appreciate food until they grow older.
- I dislike yusheng, but Xin Long is ambivalent to it, and probably very sick and tired of it by the time the book is over. Here is what yusheng looks like for reference.
- Xin Long has more cousins around her age than me, which is great, because that means she has friends who are around her age to play with.
- Unlike me, all of Xin Long’s cousins are all boys, and the generational name for them is the suffix, “long”. It means dragon. There are lots of dragons in her family.
- Xin Long spends a lot of time with her Ah Ma getting ready for Chinese New Year, like buying Chinese New Year decorations, which they both paste around the house. Her grandma does let her pick out decorations from time to time. This was something I definitely did as a child, and we even hung ornaments on a pussy willow tree.
- Xin Long’s school, like mine, does have a tradition of writing auspicious spring couplets every year.
- Xin Long probably missed out on playing with a certain kind of “explosives” — they looked like cloves of garlic and they made exploding sounds when you tossed them — unlike me. And yes, I tossed lots of those kinds of “explosives” while growing up.
- While Xin Long and I both love pineapple tarts, her favourite snack is the kueh bangkit, precisely because it melts in her mouth, like magic.
With these eight facts, I wish you all a Happy Chinese New Year!
Featured image from Akuppa John Wigham on Flickr
Picture of yusheng by Alpha on Flickr