“Paskong Chinese ngayon.”
This was what an apprehended driver along EDSA said on Friday morning after she was caught using a cellphone while driving her vehicle.
A radio station on February 9 reported that a woman got angry after a staff member of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) flagged her while driving on the major thoroughfare.
The traffic authority reportedly said she was using her cellphone while driving, which is against the Anti-Distracted Driving Act or Republic Act 10913.
The driver was asked to pay a fine of P5,000.
“Nakikiusap ako,” she said in a video of the incident posted by DZRH News on Facebook.
“Ikaw, masyado ka. Ikaw ay makakatapat din ng salbahe,” the driver said in the video. It was not clear who she was pertaining to, but at that point, she appeared to be surrounded by reporters.
“Ako, hindi salbahe, ha. Paskong Chinese ngayon, magpakabait kayo,” she said to the camera.
The driver was referring to the celebration of the Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year, which will be on February 10, Saturday.
The day before it, Friday, was also declared as a special non-working day by the Malacañang Palace.
The Lunar New Year is the most important holiday in Chinese culture. Also known as the Spring Festival, it marks the beginning of the year based on the traditional Lunar calendar.
In mainland China, official celebrations last for seven days as a public holiday. This Lunar New Year for 2024 is the Year of the Wood Dragon in their culture.
The dragon is the only mythical creature among the 12 Chinese zodiac signs.
Thierry Chow, a Hong Kong-based consultant, said that industries with a strong wood presence — including culture, publishing and floristry — will be more likely to thrive this year.
“It’s believed that the Dragon represents strong and great leadership. A lot of people are looking to have Dragon babies this year,” she said in a CNN interview.
The influence of Chinese culture in the Philippines is profound, notably in Binondo which is recognized as the world’s oldest Chinatown.
Filipinos usher in the Lunar New Year with festivities, including fireworks, dragon dances, and the exchange of red envelopes, known as “ang paos.” Dinner tables are adorned with delicacies like tikoy (glutinous rice cake) to mark the occasion.