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From our family to yours. Happy Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year is a time for family and billions across the world to celebrate and welcome the Year of the Dog this February. To mark the occasion, we spent some time with MINI owners here in Australia to learn about their families, what Chinese Year means to them, and their hopes for the year ahead. From our family to yours, Happy Chinese New Year!

Interview with THE LIM FAMILY.

> Tell us a bit about your family.
Mr Lim: We’re a family of six: three boys, one daughter and the two of us.

> Does your whole family live in Australia?
Mr Lim: Yes, we are all here. Nick (oldest son) came over to Australia first. Five of us live here (at home) and Nick has moved out. Our second son has moved in after being at boarding school.

Nick: We never really get the whole family in the same house…one comes in and one goes out - we have to pass the keys to the MINI around. I have a feeling I’m going to hand over the keys soon.

> What does Chinese New Year mean to your family?
Mr Lim: Chinese New Year is a big thing for us. It is about food and getting together - friends and relatives come over for dinner after dinner after dinner. Feast after feast after feast. We celebrate for 15 days.

Nick: I’m going back to Malaysia this Chinese New Year. I was 13 when I last celebrated there and now that I’m 21, it’s going to be very different. There’s a big Chinese New Year culture there where families open their homes to friends and family. It’s a day where you visit house after house - you can visit four houses in one day. There is the tradition where the elders give out red packets to younger generation. It’s just a great atmosphere, and there’s fire crackers. The culture is different - that’s what I’m really looking forward to.

> What is in store for this Year of the Dog for you and your family?
Mr Lim: We (Mr and Mrs Lim) were both born in the year of the dog.

Mrs Lim: So it’s our year. We want to be more thankful for everything. We’re looking ahead.

Nick: It’s my final year of university. Hopefully it will be a prosperous year and I’ll graduate from university, get good grades and sustain myself at work.

> How long have you had your MINI Countryman for?
Nick: We’ve had the car for almost a year, since June last year.

> Have you named your MINI Countryman, and if so, what is it called?
Mr Lim: Lim, which is our last name.

> Tell us a little bit more about your MINI Countryman.
Mr Lim: It’s a fun car, when you hop into the car it makes you happy.

Nick: It’s so unique, we’ve had a bigger car before but our MINI’s small and still so spacious. The fact that you can actually customise your MINI Cooper is really different. The stickers on the top and the stickers on the side - it feels personalised. I think that’s really cool - it’s basically a member of the family, we use it every day.

> What is the best thing about owning a MINI?
Mrs Lim: I get lots of compliments on it and many people take pictures - even strangers on the street. Because you get to do whatever you want with it - it makes it special.

Mr Lim: I remember when we took a trip to the Great Ocean Road and there was this guy who just kept looking at our car…so I said ‘Hi, how are you?’ but he didn’t say ‘hi’…he just kept looking.

Mrs Lim: It starts conversations. When friends get into the car they talk about the car, they say ‘Oh look, the colour changes!’ They talk about the MINI first - then we move on to other topics. It’s very different from other cars.

> Is this your first MINI?
Mrs Lim: Yes, this is our first.

> What made you get a MINI?
Mrs Lim: We used to have big cars, but I always envied MINIs. I wanted my MINI, my colours, my design.

Nick: It’s very easy to spot my parents if they come around the city to pick me up. It’s a very interesting car; it’s personalised, one-of-a-kind and very comfortable. I’m not kidding - as a passenger sitting in the back there’s massive leg room…you wouldn’t have thought. And the seats are really nicely done - we’re a big family of three boys sitting in the back and we fit alright.

> Well it’s a big year for you both, it’s the year of the dog…
Mr Lim: Yeah it’s our fourth cycle. Some people believe that you’ll have special blessings on your year but we don’t believe that.

Mrs Lim: We do believe that we come together and we eat together, that’s very important as a family - the reunion. We’ll look forward and reflect on the past.

Mr Lim: It’s a new year - time to renew.

Mrs Lim to Nick: This year I want to attend your graduation.

Interview with AILEEN.

> Tell us a bit about your family.
My family includes my parents and grandparents - we all lived together in China before I migrated to Australia.

> What does Chinese New Year mean to your family?
Chinese New Year is all about being together with family. I usually go back to China for Chinese New Year celebrations, but this year I’m staying in Australia for work commitments. My parents have decided to fly to Australia for the first time so we can be together - it’s very exciting for me to have them visit and for them to celebrate Chinese New Year outside China.

> What are your plans for CNY?
We’ll be visiting the Nan Tien temple in Wollongong on the first day of Chinese New Year – this is a significant day for us as we pray for the year ahead. We’ll then be driving to Jervis Bay on the South Coast of NSW. My mother loves the sea, and is very much looking forward to this! We don’t have these kinds of coast lines in Beijing.

> Do you have any exciting road trips planned with your new MINI?
The trip to Wollongong and the South Coast is going to be my first road trip with my parents! I’m most looking forward to spending time with them on the road, and they get to experience the newest addition to our family – our MINI. I’m sure they’ll love it as much as I do.

> What MINI do you have?
I have the MINI Cooper S

> Have you named your MINI, and if so, what is it called?
I haven’t named my MINI yet – I’m still deciding on a good name!

> What is the best thing about owning a MINI?
What I love about the MINI is the space, especially for my parents. I also love the LED lights. My favourite colour is purple, and I’m happy to be able to set all interior lights to purple. I also love the colour of my car, it’s a very dark blue which is the closest to purple I could get!

> Why a MINI?
A few years ago, I travelled to England and fell in love with the MINI style and heritage. They had lots of MINIs there too - I was attracted to its unique design and iconic shape. I knew that when I came back to Australia, my next car would be a MINI.

> Can you share any fun stories you've had with your MINI so far? Road trips? Reactions from friends? Any cool features you love?
As soon as I picked up my MINI, I had to drive back to work. I received lots of compliments from my colleagues and they all said that the car was very “me” as it reflected my personality. A couple of colleagues were also surprised about the space - they were all happy to drive it!

Interview with TING.

> What does Chinese New Year mean to your family?
Chinese New Year is a time for all of us to get together and celebrate. We usually have a reunion dinner the night before and spend some quality time as a family.

> What are your wishes/plans for the Year of the Dog / what lies ahead for your family this year?
My hopes for 2018 are that it will be a safe and harmonious one for me, my parents and my siblings. I reckon, the most important thing is good health and peace of mind.

> Do you have any exciting road trips planned?
Nothing as yet, but Sydney has so much potential in terms of weekend drives and nearby road trips. Who knows, I might be planning for one for the next long weekend!

> Tell us a little bit more about your MINI.
My MINI is my primary mode of transport and goes everywhere I go – be it work, the shops or the markets. It’s vital for my day-to-day, and since day one, I can’t imagine my day without it.

> What is the best thing about owning a MINI?
The feeling of happiness and fun you get when you’re driving. It’s the perfect size - especially for navigating in and around Sydney. It’s easy to park, but has lots of space inside! It’s also a very stylish car and I’m really proud to be a MINI owner.

> Can you share any fun stories you've had with your MINI? Road trips? Reactions from friends?
I love driving my MINI, even driving to and from work becomes fun. It’s something I look forward to at the start and the end of the day. It always makes me feel positive, and it’s great because it always stands out!