Older Fart

The steamboat experience was good. A good occasion that overshadowed my birthday. When one was arrived at that kind of age, birthdays were no excitement. Gone were the days birthdays were meant to be occasions of enjoyable. I spent the day helping out to make the reunion dinner a better one.

Many Chinese still practice the  traditional reunion dinner on the eve of the Chinese New Year. It symbolises unification. As someone who had been away for reunion dinners for the past 2 years, this one held special significance to me. It was interesting to experience one like that. So that was how millions of Chinese from the past who leave their hometowns to work in other provinces or overseas for prolong periods felt coming back for dinner with the rest of the family.

It was a simple steamboat by any standards. No fuss, no exceptional ingredients. Not that we needed any. The steamboat pot was only purchased a few hours before dinner, when my desperate mum pulled me along to do a last minute shopping at the mini mart nearby. Nice pot. I told Jen to pack it up after dinner. With that, we would have nice meals during the coming Autumn and Winter nights. Mum would not miss it for sure once the warmer days returned to Singapore.

It was frightening to receive birthday greetings from the secondary school brothers. Some people never forget your birthdays - way before Facebook and mobile phones were created. You knew life had been kind to you when you realised you had a couple of such buddies. What frightened me was more than 2 decades had past since I met them. And my baby daughter pawing me, begging for a hug, seemed to be as tall as my hips already. Before long, she chuckled in delight as she mistook the birthday song as hers. The song might be meant for me but my birthday was meant for both her mother and her. As the memories of the bladder cancer lingered at the back of my mind, I was grateful for my existence. Every birthday from there would mean something different to me. Many years ago, I was given the gift of life on this day. This year all I wished for was the gift of making it to the next. I thought I had more to offer for everyone.

Much had to be spent on health this year.