Tết (aka Vietnamese New Year aka Chinese New Year aka Lunar New Year) is coming! This year Tết falls on February 8th. That's less than 2 weeks away! Tết is by far the most important holiday on the Vietnamese lunar calendar. It marks the beginning of spring (xuân) and the beginning of a new year (năm mới). It's a time of celebration, visiting family, and paying respect to your ancestors. Tết is both a celebration of what the future holds as well as a celebration of the past. Tết is freaking awesome! There's fireworks, special holiday foods, múa lân (a lion dance), and li xi (lucky money)!!!
Sometimes I wish I could experience Tết first hand in Vietnam. But since I live in the US, Tết usually comes and go with little fanfare. This year, however, I'm on that Tết hype train! Recently, there has been a ton of Tết themed songs being released. None of them gets me more hyped than Một Năm Mới Bình An by Sơn Tùng M-TP. If you have been watching The Remix, you may have seen an ad campaign featuring M-TP, Chi Pu, Tóc Tiên, and Hồ Ngọc Hà by the OPPO smartphone company. Since I would always skip the commercials, it wasn't until I watched the MV for Một Năm Mới Bình An that I came to appreciate OPPO's message of using your smartphone wisely. Kind of weird that a smartphone company would tell their consumers to stop using their phones all the time, but I guess it's all about that positive brand reinforcement.
Anyways, I found the video for Một Năm Mới Bình An to be the feel good MV of the month. There's a story about M-TP and Chi Pu reaching out to an old photographer even though they didn't have to. I mean, who needs a photographer these days when you can just use your smartphone to take pictures? No one, that's who. Then, there's a story about Tóc Tiên deciding to mail out physical holiday cards when she could have saved time and money by just sending out digital cards to family and friends. Finally, there's a story about Hồ Ngọc Hà's kid being an antisocial gaming asshole. What does Hồ Ngọc Hà do? Well, she finds him playmates to run around with by purchasing balloons for some less fortunate children who are just chilling on the streets with nothing to do. Everybody wins!
OPPO did an amazing job at instilling the essence of Tết in these short stories. Yes, smartphones are the future; however, that doesn't mean old school ways of doing things don't have value. Sometimes there's more value in doing things the hard, old fashioned way. As we look to the future, we should embrace our past and respect our elders. Family, tradition, paying respect, and celebration -- that is what Tết means to me.