Friday, 8 February 2008

That Gaudy-Red Festival

It's gaudy-red time again!

Kickstarted CNY eve yesterday by helping out in the spring cleaning effort, but soon my dad's anal-ness made me go out earlier than I'd wanted to. With nowhere in mind, I aimlessly took 147 towards school and then met up Mikaela, the only familiar living soul I could encounter within the deserted premises.

It was like a ghost town with all the shops closed, so we headed down to Long John Silver's at Plaza Singapura for some bites and talked for a bit to while the time away.

I was told to be at Tanjong Pagar MRT by 6pm so when it was about 15mins to five I started embarking on a hike towards Tanjong Pagar from Dhoby Ghaut. Past the majestic Supreme Court edifice at City Hall and the tranquil river dividing Raffles Place from Boat Quay, I suddenly started losing my way and was determinedly trying to find directions from the Raffles Place MRT map when my mom SMSed to say that rendezvous has been delayed til 8pm; what a bummer.

So in all randomness, I took a train back to town and eventually went to Borders and read bits and pieces here and there from at least 10 good books ranging from Tony Blair's biography to consciousness philosophy to space-time-universe theory, reminding myself that bookstores are undoubtedly the best places to be to kill some time. Then I headed down for dinner proper.

Been sleeping way too little to be sociable (on top of being already naturally unsociable towards my relatives), so reunion dinner was yet another somewhat awkward affair with an annual dose of really bad food. We perhaps all know what constitutes to a satisfactory serving of food for me, so sharing dishes with that stipulated amount per table really doesn't cut it for me. And not forgetting that I hate mushrooms, sea cucumber, brinjal, etc etc. Someone remind me why this is supposed to be fantastic, because in my case neither 'reunion' nor 'dinner' went well.

Justin, my 25 year-old cousin, is what I'd really call the darling son in the family. He never fails to be the life of the party and it's not that he's an attention-seeking person or the things he says aren't funny or witty. The uncles all love to banter with him and that includes my dad too. I've always wondered what the outcome would be if Justin was his son. My dad and I can ever hardly talk, and it felt as if the both of them exchanged more words between them in those 2hrs than my dad and I had ever done in my lifetime so far.

That preceded the usual neighbourhood temple visit which I absolutely dread, because amongst other more obvious religious reasons, my eyes are extremely sensitive to the smoke. Yet another late night and early morning next, and a truckload of visiting which I effectively space out to deal with.

I'll skip the usual gripes I'd whine about. One of the interesting things I've noticed is that conversations, however few and awkward, are starting to gravitate towards the degree/girlfriend/job/studies side. It's the only thing I can seem to sustain a conversation about, and I'm always musing in the background of my mind while I conversate, "here we go again."

What made CNY day 1 a little more interesting was the visit to my nanny's when I was between 3-6 years old, whom I used to call Auntie Mama. Some fleeting memories returned, such as the porch and the long and narrow living room that made you sit really close to the TV. And since it had been almost 20 years since they last saw me (I never visited), I was given celebrity-status attention as they endlessly exclaimed, once past the shock, that I was unrecognisable/so tall/so dark/etc.

There was this guy, Freddie, who's the husband of this lady, Jane, who is my nanny's daughter and he's a managing director. So there was plenty of allusion towards that job standard (complete with 2 maids and a Merc) because he is now the man apparently. More job comparisons, more getting told that I've gotta achieve that kinda career level or better it.

When Kenny's dad (I prefer to refer to uncles this way) found out about my breakup and that it was due to religious issues, he went on this Buddhism preaching barrage and all that jazz about karma and got so excited and carried away that when Kenny tried to interrupt him to ask about something (important, I'd actually reckon), he just sharply snapped, "Shut up la! People talking!" and continued going on and on. Geez. But it was extremely amusing when it happened.

Went over to my mom's side of the family for more visits, and I guess the only stuff that were worth mentioning were the beer and my conversation with Suihar because it finally didn't feel like an obligatory chat.

Went to RK to supposedly celebrate Yap's birthday but the scrimpish prick was too stingy to give a treat. So ends day 1, and I doubt day 2 or another subsequent day for that matter will mean much to me. Even the red packets don't anymore - with the money, my dad'll just take a month off giving me allowance anyway so it'll sum up to be essentially the same. Sometimes I feel bad for them having to give out red packets (which is ridiculous I'll admit cos it's probably been already budgeted in their financial plans) so I did offer to give them my red packets so that they can give them out. 'Cos in all honesty, everything just eventually comes full circle in terms of such financial economics anyway (i.e. zero-sum game) and I don't quite need the guise of red-packet-giving to give me a false sense of happiness in that respect.

Haha okay sorry for being such a cynical prick but I've also gotta add that I didn't shop for anything at all this CNY, and my mom was really starting to worry that I'd end up wearing a pair of old 2nd-hand jeans that uncle William gave me (which isn't auspicious since it doesn't reflect on our propensity for wealth) so she ended up buying a striped red polo tee for me. I don't quite know the figures, but that definitely brings my tally of clothing owned but not bought by me to an all time high. I can't quite recall the last time I shopped, or even wanted to shop, for that matter.

I believe we should all pay our tax bill with a smile. I tried — but they wanted cash.

Today's Listenables:
Finger Eleven - Drag You Down

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