On family ties…

One of the more ‘useful’ customs about this time of year is the annual reunion dinner for all family members, from near or far all will make the pilgrimage home, don’t matter if you haven’t spoken to Mak Minah for ten years – attendance is compulsory. Some families have home-cooked goodness, some opt for the easy way out and dine out, while others are even lazier and serve crackers and boxed drinks as a poor excuse of a balanced meal… For my family this year, it has been a totally disjointed ‘reunion’ – once with beloved Mum, once with my siblings and some of our best friends and once again with beloved Dad and Stepmom.

First dinner with Mum – started out ordinarily enough, with an invite for dinner at her place. As it is customary, my mum insists on cooking our favourites, nevermind that sometimes it comes out completely different from what it started out as. We came home upon the usual mess – heaps of clothes all over the house, none of the windows open, and Mum cooking in a quagmire. All four of us (myself, you too baby, my sis and brother) all rolled up our sleeves and helped. Again, as usual Mum is in her usual state of controlled chaos. Dinner was fantastic – piping hot chicken curry with ‘pulut kuning’, a seafood paella and brilliant banter. Looking back, I really miss those Kodak moments, but then again, I reckon if we spend more than 12 hours in close quarters together, we’d be tearing at each others’ throats – but the illusion is a great one to keep…

The next dinner, it was my turn to host – we had our eternal favourite, barbeque! We had some of our good friends over – some we haven’t seen in almost a year. It was brilliant talking to them again. Great food, great company and a roaring time… At the end of the day, I was reminded of how much I’ve grown and learned in these recent years, and one of the more valuable lessons must be that the company we keep reflects back on what we are… Sitting under the stars with a drink in my hand – I felt a sense of accomplishment… My guests had a great time, and so did I… I really enjoyed entertaining that night, and in retrospect, it might just have amplified the sense of loneliness I usually feel when alone…

A weekend later, came Dad’s turn. In true ‘Papa’ fashion, we ate out – at the country club in fact. Stepmom as usual, was busily slurping her “mee kari” while Dad waited for his oysters. Sis and I had Japanese, Chinese, and God knows what else. Food was perfect, with no cleaning in sight, but this time the conversation was muted, almost rehearsed and edited before even it escapes the confines of my brains. As soon as Sis finished her ‘Char Kuey Tiaw’, Dad hurried off home – presumably to catch a rugby game on the telly… Nonetheless, dinner with family is always an occasion, especially since I haven’t eaten with Dad for quite a while now. Been buried in work, you see…

Tonight, sitting at home alone while I compose my thoughts for your amusement, I cannot help but feel that I miss having a proper family, a proper home and friends who I can call my own. Sure, I have my family and friends – is it not evident from the endless dinners and entertaining I’ve been doing? The thing is, for me, most of the time, I almost have no family to speak of – other than my siblings and you. Mum’s a million miles away – even when she was physically close. Now that she’s further away than ever, its so difficult for me to talk to her and listen to her wisdom, however twisted or illogical they may be. Dad’s busy, buried in work and friends and endless outings and meetings and greetings – yes, I see him daily, 8 hours a day in fact – but we rarely speak more than four sentences in a day, and usually all work related. My siblings – they only have time for me when there’s a gap in their endlessly busy busy bee schedules. I understand, they’re just beginning to live their lives, spreading their wings and meeting people, experiencing new experiences and all that, definitely got no time for boring ole Sis, right?

And our friends? They too are starting their lives – having kids, getting married, learning to cook, burning that mee maggi, washing underwear, getting laid, getting drunk moving out… But not necessarily in that order lah…

My point for today is – we all need to have ties with someone… It’s never good to be alone, no matter how much one feels that he or she is an island. We cannot be living in blissful state of unaware, all by ourselves. It is nature, the need to feel connected, to feel wanted and loved and needed. I used to feel that I will survive, even if I’m alone. I used to think that I had no one but myself, but this past week has taught me that I must rebuild my broken bridges, before they get completely swept away by my own careless ignorance…

One day you’ll know that you’re the rock that anchors me to the realm of human interaction, for without you I’d be lost and drifting in a sea of loneliness – Jasmine.

On expectations, again…

First of all, my apologies for not posting my ramblings earlier… there are lots of words sitting around somewhere on my laptop, but I have decided not to post them, as some are no longer relevant, while others posts risk sounding like the mad ramblings of a delirious old cow… So, please forgive me, especially those who take pleasure in reading about my sometimes insane, sometimes mundane days… Of course, one should expect a certain regularity to some things in life, like the rush of caffeine in the first morning coffee and the inevitability of listening to bad news when you tune into the news channel, and in the same perversity, perhaps bloggers should also be a bit more responsible to their imagined audiences, and write regularly. Shame on bloggers who are erratic! Who’s to deny the masses their morbid fascination with getting first hand glimpses into the most intimate thoughts of strangers, right?

OK, enough self-depreciation right now… For those who actually read this space, here’s my new resolution – I shall post as often as I write, and not keep it as pickle in my hard disk.

On to today’s topic, expectations… I realize that this is a rerun, or sequel of sorts… but bear with me… I mean, everyone has their expectations, some big some small…. it’s a dynamic thing, our wishes and hopes, it’s something alive and ever-changing, and keeping that in mind, I will be writing more on expectations in the future.

We spent most of yesterday, my sister and my better/worse half, celebrating and glorifying the excesses that characterizes what it is to be human, to be able to change and manipulate the environment – by shopping in a massively massive mall… We ate like pigs, walked aimlessly, and spent not too wisely our hard-earned moolah… And then we walked into the Carat Club.

Now, for those who have no idea what the Carat Club is, it’s an establishment that epitomizes the excesses of human desires… They trade in insanely expensive, and madly desired stones called diamonds… People have gone to war over them, empires rise and fall, kings and queens murdered in cold blood… So, truly, we homo sapiens are damned fascinated with these shiny little bits of carbon… Here, they have made the perfect marketing ploy, to sell into the gullibility of one in love, to give in to the desire to make a loved one happy, by buying them bits of sparkling rocks symbolizing eternal love… Of course, being human myself, I too wish and desire to own a piece of ‘eternal love’… We walked in, made as if we were shopping and tried on these bits of rocks…

Yes, they were insanely expensive. And yes, they’re not the best ones for value for money. But love is an insane thing – people spend on one item of jewellery the same amount some families spend in a year. Thinking about it in retrospect, it’s not very like myself to wish for something so out of reach… But by making such a wish, I am hoping for a better ending to my very own fairy tale.

To strive for a token of love, is a sign of devotion. Some may say its superficial, measuring the love of a person by how much they spend on you… But to me, it is the amount of work and self-sacrifice and devotion that will be symbolized by that stupid rock. By choosing the right rock, one is also saying that their significant other is in fact worth more that money can buy, although a dollar figure too small is never good for any relationship, eh?

I will, for now, push out from my mind the thoughts of those shiny little rocks and sparkle and dance in the light, and work damn hard to get my 42’ plasma tv instead 😛 That too, in my twisted mind, is a sign of devotion to each other – by investing to make the home a place to be in comfort, it means that we really want to share this fairytale together… no matter how bad the days have been.

Still dreaming of the gorgeous ring, but for now I’ll keep my trap shut… Hopefully you’ll love me enough to know that every girl has dreams of the most beautiful wedding ring – Jasmine.