Dear Gossips, 

Every year on my birthday I am expected to call my ma to thank her for my birthday. On my birthday we celebrate her. This year, however, my parents had us over to their place and she ordered in all my favourite dimsum selections and even got me a cake. Highly unusual. Lately she’s been checking my feng shui levels for the year ahead and I guess whatever she read led her to actually spend the energy to make my birthday about me. 


If you’ve been visiting this site over the years, you may remember that sometimes, when she was doing her Chinese zodiac forecasts for the 12 different signs, she would offer birthday recommendations. Some signs are advised to mark their birthdays quietly and some signs are encouraged to do it up on their birthdays. And btw, in Chinese culture, you should always celebrate your birthday before your birthday or on your birthday but NEVER after. 

For me, born under the sign of the Ox, for whatever reason (I try not to ask because I don’t want to be worried), this was not supposed to be a quiet birthday year – but, of course, it’s not like we should be doing large gatherings right now. Which is why ma had us come to her place and she organised all the food and the cake, and insisted that Jacek take photos. My ma, who doesn’t know how to change channels on the remote control, wanted me to share the birthday photos and videos on social media which would then count as “doing it up for your birthday” in COVID times. 


Somehow my Chinese Squawking Chicken mother, who is basically tech illiterate, found a new use for Instagram: it’s now a default feng shui and good luck tool. She has always been particularly resourceful when it comes to feng shui. And it would seem that social media, during the pandemic, can be used to accumulate luck on certain occasions. Heads up then if your birthday is approaching – accumulate good energy on social media. This wasn’t a big lift for me. As established, I am a birthday whore. There is no one thirstier for attention on their birthday than me. 

Social media is probably how we’re observing Mid-Autumn Festival aka Harvest Moon Festival this week. Mid-Autumn Festival is on October 1 this year, a major holiday across East Asia. Every culture celebrates a little differently but we all typically gather with our families for a big feast. It’s basically our Thanksgiving. Right now, for so many people around the world, big gatherings are not an option. When I told ma that it’s such a bummer that Mid-Autumn Festival activities were scaled back, she said that feng shui understands that circumstances can change, that feng shui always confronts reality. And that feng shui is always fluid and adaptable. Water flows where it will. A low-key celebration at home, in the presence of love, can fortify and protect. Even if it’s on FaceTime. 

Yours in gossip,