To all those cynics who keep whining that the millennium doesn't begin until 2001, y'all need to check in with the Chinese before you begin predicting doom and gloom for this December 31. The Chinese have kept on keeping on with their own calendar for more than 5,000 years without a hitch. That's not to say that China hasn't seen some hard times. In fact, its immensely long and sometimes turbulent history has created a culture that is so rich it is hard to summarize in a volume of books, let alone a paragraph. The Triangle Area Chinese American Society is gearing up to celebrate the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dragon, with a cultural spectacular at Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium, Sunday, Jan. 23, at 3 p.m. Witness Peking opera and Kun opera performances of ancient folk tales, all in full costume. Be dazzled by amazing acrobatic feats. Marvel over wushu demonstrations (that's martial arts, for all you Bruce Lee fans who think it's called "kung fu") from shaolin style to drunken style. Drool over the bounty of traditional folk dancing and music and other delights too numerous to describe here. Pick up tickets for the Chinese New Year Festival at either of the Triangle Oriental Markets (790-7044 or 319-1203), Asia Market (467-2005) or Grand Asia Market (468-2988).