The beauty of keeping my website current is that I can always go back in time and find out, say, what I did last new year. It is hard to believe that one year has passed. Reading what I wrote last year makes me feel that it was only yesterday when Bethany was a tiny baby. OK. My niece Bethany is still a little one. Even with a little bit of motivation (such as doubling the content inside her hong bao this year), she has yet to learn how to call me kau fu, or in English, uncle. I am a patience man. I know that day will come.
“A home cooked dinner. From right to left, little Bethany, Benny, my sister Lora, Cynthia, and I.”
This year, my mother is not in town. So, it was I who wore the apron and cooked up a few Cantonese dishes. I even had the honor to heat up little Bethany’s dinner, specially made by Benny’s mother. I have no idea what kids love to play when they are one year old. But I have discovered that Bethany likes to play with buttons. And I have tons at home. Such as my remote controls, my computers, and my amplifier. With much restraint, I tried not to say ‘cannot’, ‘no’, or ‘not that‘, for it is not quite cool to have Bethany repeats those words I say. Instead, I brought her the walker and said, “Go to you mama [and please stay away from my stuffs!]” Or in my attempt to divert her attention, I took out my Indonesia drum and said, “Play this”. Bethany seemed to enjoy playing the drum, although I really wish that she plays the piano instead. Maybe she will, when she gets older. I am thinking of Moonlight Sonata. I am thinking of Chopin. I am thinking of chilling out with my books while Bethany plays the piano all day long.
Some traditions should remain, like our family dinners on these special days. As I was guiding little Bethany to walk next to my sofa, looking at those eyes and ears that are the exact replicas of my sister’s, I could not help but to feel that it was only yesterday when my sister was a toddler, when I was learning to play my big brother’s role in taking care of her. Decades have passed, with a blink of an eye.
When asked what we do during Chinese New Year, I often begin the lengthy recount of our culture and tradition with a reunion dinner that happens during our Chinese New Year Eve period. Family members get together in a dinning table (or a dinning hall depending how big one’s family is) to celebrate and to catch up, especially with the elders of the family. How often do we get to meet our relatives?
A lot more often when we have a baby in the family.
Ever since my little niece Bethany landed on Earth, I see her mother – my sister – almost daily. And her daddy – my good buddy – too. Not only that, my mother has also decided to travel from Hong Kong and stay with Cynthia and I because of little Bethany. She is a little magnet that pull this small family together. I cannot remember when was the last time we have a reunion dinner together. It would be nice if my dad could travel to Singapore too. Perhaps when Bethany is old enough, we shall travel Hong Kong and celebrate our reunion in our birth town.
I often think that babies are sound polluting machines. Little Bethany seems calm and well-mannered when she is in my home, or in my car. Most of the time, she sleeps like a baby. She is a baby! This is her second long visit to where I live. And I have to admit, the more often I see her, the deeper bonding I am developing with her. Imagine parents who see and handle their babies every minute of their waking hours. That bonding must be strong. It is something that is hard to explain, best to experience.
Observing things that we do with Bethany, I ponder upon the necessity of daily routine act of affection with your loved ones. Something that we may have overlooked, something that may have been overwritten by other daily routines. As I was holding little Bethany in my arms, the first time after she was born, I could not help but to think …
… I reckon if she was to camp to my home for a few days, I could still play computer games while she is sleeping in my embrace. Her daddy Benny doesn’t seem to be convinced. I should do a live demo the next time they visit us.
Happy Chinese New Year! When I walked into the office, some of my clients actually knew that today was the Chinese New Year. According to them, it was being broadcast on the radio. I wore red shirt and red tie, just to look very “traditional”.
Today was not so good for Aurore as she had locked herself out. Lucky her landlord does have the spare key. As for me, I was such a good day before I received a new SIR from Noubi. What a bastard! Usually when a SIR is closed, he would write, “Attn : Wilfrid. This is to inform you that <SIR#> has been successfully tested, and can be closed.” Being so bored with seeing this all the time, me and Mohamed composed this, “Attn : Noubi. This is to inform you that <SIR#> has been successfully installed, and can be tested.” And he actually issued a SIR on this Microsoft Mail Message. The SIR said something like, first the information “Noubi” was duplicated (as it is in the header as well) and said that it should read, “tested successfully” instead. I was so pissed off that I went straight to Aurore and told her that that guy was crazy and needed some help. In the end it was supposed to be a joke between Noubi and Mohamed and of course, Mohamed did not appreciate the joke either, and neither did Aurore. God, that fellow needs some HELP.
And met my Aunt and Uncle for dinner tonight.