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How to answer that dreaded Chinese New Year question from your nosy relatives

Here's how to cope with the inevitable “Why you still not married ah?” question this festive season

How to answer that dreaded Chinese New Year question from your nosy relatives

Chinese New Year isn't about choosing the right decorations. It's also about figuring out how to answer difficult intrusive questions ( Photo:

Chinese New Year is soon upon us - that wonderful time of the year to celebrate, feast and bond with relatives you've barely seen since all year.

With COVID-19 safe management measures limiting the maximum number of unique visitors allowed for each household at five people per day, you most likely won't be re-connecting with fourth aunt twice removed on your mother’s side and 16th cousin on your father’s side.

But this doesn't mean that the interrogation of your personal life will cease. We all know that Chinese New Year gatherings can also sometimes feel like smartly-dressed cross-examination seminars.

If you’re a thirty-something singleton, you know exactly what I'm talking about - the inevitable dreaded question of “So why you still not married ah?”.

Suddenly, all your insecurities and their unfulfilled expectations start weighing down on you - even heavier than your mother's pineapple tarts - making you wish you had never come to this Chinese New Year party in the first place.

While it's astonishing that people still think it's appropriate to ask such a personal question, we all recognise the good intentions behind the annual asking of those fateful words at any Chinese New Year family gathering.

After all, Aunty Sue is only flattering me by telling me I'm a catch while Uncle Tan is asking a rhetorical question because he's flabbergasted a treasure like me is still unclaimed.

So instead of stressing over how to deal with your prying relatives, why not come up with a list of witty comebacks?

To be used on age-appropriate inquisitive relatives of course. We certainly don't want you to be disowned for being rude to your 87-year-old grandma.

So here are five tongue-in-cheek reactions to that shuddersome question, for all your intrusive cousins and family friends who dared to ask:

"So I can continue receiving hongbao (red packets filled with money) from you, that’s why!"




Cry, wordlessly, holding eye contact and then suddenly let out a long, high-pitched scream. Keeping maintaining eye contact.




“Because sadly, my dad didn’t have enough sheep and goats for my dowry.”




"Because I’m more into the title of CEO than wife/husband.”




"Because I’m already in a relationship. With myself. It’s a passionate love affair that’s going really great."




Source: CNA/gl