Anyone who knows me well, knows about my love for entertaining – theme parties, dinner gatherings, picnics in the park, you just say the word and I’ll be the one (voluntarily) bringing stuff, cooking things, making props, lambasting ideas, games and what nots.
I guess in a way, the way I was brought up influenced my need to surround myself with happy people and things. Before my mum and dad moved into their marital home – they stayed with my gramps, alongside three aunties and an uncle. Whenever I cried, my mum recalled, the whole house awakened and bedroom doors swung open – everyone rushed to carry, cuddle and soothe the crying me. My aunties began coming home from work early, just to buy me toys or watch me play. To a point, when my late father sulked because he had this idea that I’d begin to love others more than him because he didn’t get to carry me as much as the rest.
I was a shared baby, a human magnet that attracted smiles and happy faces, simply because I was the first grandchild and almost an extension to their six-sibling family. And these memories make me feel lucky, and makes me appreciate family in the deepest of ways. My aunts and uncle were more like doting sisters and brother, they even made me call them kakak “sister”, rather than cik “auntie”. It’s because of this sense of full big house, I have always craved people around me. Isolation treats me well in small doses, but I always need to have big and fun plans to look forward to. Gatherings. Gatherings of people who matter to me.
Decided to gather up at Mum’s last weekend, for a bit of a feast inspired by the Chinese Lunar New Year. And that woman I love dearly has also turned 55!
Hanging out in the kitchen, while preparing the table
Tossing the yusheng
The yusheng, a raw fish salad with a whole bunch of other stuff. Sakae Sushi is a favourite of mine, because they slice the ingredients fresh when you pick up your order.
Crab meat wantons, using spring roll skins because there was wanton skin shortage in Tampines
Salted egg prawns, because there was a shortage of crabs in the ENTIRE island
Kung pow chicken with cashews, dried chillies and capsicums
Garlicky, buttery scallops ready for the oven
Husband who can’t wait to wallop up all the food, which the ladies in the house painstakingly cooked. (He was the designated crab hunter – who was unsuccessful in his mission to find crabs).
Beginning to love mum’s new dining table
Sister, who inherited most of mum’s genes and feature. Though I inherited her thighs!
Her favourite boy – the one who loves washing the clothes and vacuuming the house in exchange for her cooking
My FOC shrinks, available around the clock. They were laughing because I told them to stop flirting with each other. How can one not be jealous and so happy when the husband and mother always find themselves lost in their own world of conversations.
Happy Birthday. XOXO.