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Jakarta Post

Ahok to skip ‘Imlek’ dinner for debate

  • Nurul Fitri Ramadhani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, January 27, 2017   /  06:16 am
Ahok to skip ‘Imlek’ dinner for debate Incumbent Jakarta gubernatorial candidate Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama talks with residents of Pesanggrahan, South Jakarta, during a campaign visit on Jan. 26. (JP/Nurul Fitri Ramadhani)

This year will be the first time for Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama and his family to skip dinner on the eve of Chinese New Year, which falls on Jan. 28 this year, due to the Jakarta gubernatorial debate.

That means the family will celebrate the new year, locally known as Imlek, at lunch on Saturday, when they will enjoy a feast prepared by Ahok’s mother.

“[My family and I] usually have dinner on the eve of Chinese New Year, but this time we won’t because [I have to attend] the debate session,” Ahok said on Thursday.

Ahok must participate in the second gubernatorial debate on the evening of Jan. 27 with his running mate, Djarot Saiful Hidayat, to present their ideas for specific issues in front of the public and their rivals, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono-Sylviana Murni and Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno.

For Chinese New Year, Ahok said that he had prepared angpao (red envelopes containing money) to be given to his relatives during the family gathering.

“I’m old, so I have not prepared much. But, I would like to give angpao to my relatives,” he said.

Ahok’s younger sister, Fifi Lety Indra, told The Jakarta Post that the family did not mind the delay because they understood and fully supported Ahok in the gubernatorial race.

“It’s the first time that we will postpone the family gathering, but it’s OK,” Fifi said on Thursday.

Pork, she said, would be served as always. Their mother usually cooks seven to nine pork dishes.

“My mother is a very good cook. She cooks pork every Imlek. She also prepares chicken dishes and noodle dishes,” Fifi said.

On Imlek, Fifi said, Ahok would likely spend the day only with the family. He would visit family and older relatives, as is the tradition.

However, since Ahok was the eldest son and their mother now lives with him in Jakarta, Fifi said, most of the family members would gather at Ahok’s house in Pantai Mutiara in North Jakarta.

“Our family members are not only Christian but also Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu. They will all come, just like how we have a gathering every [Idul Fitri]. We’re a Pancasila family,” Fifi said.

The new year will welcome the year of the fire rooster.

There are 12 Chinese zodiacs and Ahok was born in 1966, the year of the fire horse. According to some, people born in the year of the horse are believed to have energetic personalities but can be self-centered.

“A horse never eats grass behind him and because I am a fire horse, I will burn all of the woods that hamper me,” Ahok said when asked about his zodiac fortune and hopes for 2017.

Agus is also a horse, being born in 1978, but he is an earth horse to be specific. Anies was born in 1969 and is an earth rooster. People born with such a sign are believed to be generous and trustworthy.

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