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IT’S the Chinese New Year, and people are supposed to be staying up late and letting off firecrackers. But sisters Phyllis Cheung from Lee-on-the-Solent and Cecilia Lam from Fareham are far too busy for traditional celebrations.

Phyllis is a smart girl. She has a good degree and is an accountant, director and business advisor with a local firm, Ellyss Accountants. As the Chinese New Year is perilously close to the end of the financial tax year, she is frantically beavering away on business people’s tax for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

She has got to make sure that sole traders, builders and businesses of all sizes get their returns in correctly and on time.

Cecilia, who has her own upmarket business, is also highly qualified in beauty and holistic treatments.

Her clients, who are mainly professional people, range from 30 to 50 years old.

They need to appear at their best at all times so Cecilia keeps them looking and feeling good with her variety of eyelash, finger nail, facial, spa and body treatments.

When these industrious sisters are not busy at their chosen professions they are hard at work in the gym.

Forget about Tai Chi or Kung Fu, these modern girls put themselves through rigorous routines in classes such as body combat, body balance, body pump and body jam at David Lloyd, Port Solent.

They go there almost every morning to work up a sweat, sometimes doing more than 10 classes a week.

So what do the Chinese take away from all this exercise? Phyllis believes that it’s good to do it even if they’re tired.

She thinks the more exercise they do, the more energy they have.

They both have tremendous respect for their coach, Tania Wilson, whose flawless technique is a great inspiration.

Known by some as the Spring Festival, the 2017 Chinese New Year is also the year of the Rooster, one of 12 signs, the same as the Zodiac (though they differ in that they are not associated with solar constellations.)

The repeating cycle is based on the yearly cycle of Jupiter.

Celebrations traditionally last 15 days, ending with the lantern festival. Candles can be seen in their hundreds, guiding wayward spirits back home.

The Rooster symbolises hardworking, resourceful, confident and talented people.

No wonder Phyllis and Cecilia have something to crow about.