BRING A POWER BANK
With house visits not only physically sapping but also mentally draining, having a power bank to keep your smartphone going can keep you going too.
I mean, you can always retreat to looking at cute cat videos or checking messages on your smartphone when your relatives start asking awkward questions such as why you are so fat, still single or not having a second kid?
I recommend a power bank such as the iWalk Scorpion 12000X ($99, right). It has a 12,000mAh battery and comes with four built-in cables, so you do not even need to bring cables along.
GET A SELFIE STICK
Chinese New Year is the rare chance for all the members of the immediate family, extended family and even pets to get together under one roof. In other words, it is the perfect opportunity for group photos.
And this is where a selfie stick is invaluable, as you would want to include everyone in the frame.
One selfie stick to consider is the Xiaomi Mi Selfie Stick Tripod ($28.90, right). It is both a selfie stick and a tripod, making it ideal for those mega group photos. It also has a Bluetooth remote controller for you to easily snap photos. This selfie stick can be retracted to fit into the pocket for easy portability.
DOWNLOAD THE RELATIVE TITLE CALCULATOR APP
Always stumped when trying to address your relatives properly in Mandarin, especially those you meet once every solar eclipse?
Download the Relative Title Calculator app (available on Android and iOS, free).
As its name implies, you just need to key your relationship with that person into its calculator-like interface and it will give you the correct Chinese title.
For example, to find out how to address the wife of your father’s younger brother, key in father + younger brother + wife. (The answer? Shen shen).
Of course, you need to know how to read Chinese. It can’t help you with that.
PLAY TRIPLE AGENT!
If you and your cousins are bored but don’t want to be anti-social, try playing this party game called Triple Agent! All you need is one smartphone (Android or iOS, free with in-app purchases).
It is a game for at least five players. At the start of each round, each player will be assigned a role – either a secret service agent (good) or a “virus” double agent (bad).
The phone is then passed around. Each player will get to do some missions on the phone that will reveal some information about the other players or even allow one to swop sides. Think Running Man-style betrayal.
At the end of the round, the players will vote who to imprison. If the player voted to be imprisoned is a virus double agent, the good guys win. If a secret service agent is imprisoned, the bad guys win.
Of course, you set the rewards or punishments for the winners and losers. Maybe no bak kwa for the losers?