Wedding March

Your family, my family

It may sound strange but I am viewing the approaching Chinese New Year with a mix of apprehension, joy and sadness. It’s going to be the last reunion dinner I am having with my family since I will be tying the knot later this year.

Ever since my father died, reunion dinners have been small affairs for the Mother, Sista and me. Things changed a few years ago when, in a fit of inspiration, I suggested that we get together with my aunt/godmother’s family since theirs was an all-femme do as well. Another aunt and her family decided to join us as well and since then, my reunion dinners have been fun-filled steamboat parties.

It’s probably obvious by now that I am extremely close to my family. We meet regularly and I date my cousins once in a while. I love my nephews and enjoy playing or talking to them. I chat with the Sista on MSN almost everyday and I treat my mother as my equal most of the time. This year, the Sista has decided to go for her honeymoon during the CNY period (to skip handing out red packets) and she won’t be here for the reunion dinner. That makes it doubly sad for me.

It’s not that I don’t like the boyfriend’s family. It’s just that in a way, because I am so attached to my family, I don’t really see my future in-laws as my new, surrogate family. It doesn’t help as well that the boyf is not terribly close to his brothers and we don’t have much in common. There is a gap between us which I am not that keen to close. I, on the other hand, love to integrate him into my large, rowdy Hainanese family because I think they are funny and cool and I want him to know them the way I do.

Maybe this disrespectful or unfillial but the thought of adapting to a new family is just so daunting to me.

……….

Unexpectedly, I am caught up in a conundrum between the new world and the old.

The Mother mentioned the other day that she was a tad disappointed my future in-laws did not seem keen to make her acquaintance. She has seen how my godmother forged friendships with her son-in-law’s family and is keen to do the same.

But as the family of the bride, she cannot make the first move, she said. “I’m already marrying my daughter to them, I shouldn’t be expected to make the first move too. Tradition dictates that the groom’s family respect the bride’s family by making the effort.”

Her move (or the lack of) is also to ensure that I will be treated with respect when I am married.

As a modern girl, I thought it was really quite unnecessary. Afterall, his parents have treated me with nothing but affection all along. But at the same time, I understand her point of view, as outdated as it seems, and I am reluctant to undermine it.

So what’s a girl to do?

Everything Else

Jay Chou 2008 World Tour

!(imgcenter)http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2127/2205332425_f242147e57_m.jpg(Singing 安静)!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/2205332425/

Thanks to the boyf, we managed to get two tickets to the concert with his OCBC points. Initially, I was a little sad that I wouldn’t be able sitting with Trevor, who has been my Jay Chou concert companion since his first “The One” concert back in 2001. Trev was attending the concert with his brother (who had redeemed the tickets with his OCBC credit card) and I was obviously going with the boyf. But by a stroke of luck, we discovered that our seats were right next to each other. Hurrah!

When the concert first started – with loud bangs and lots of pyrotechnics, as usual – we were a little put off by the sound system (which drowned him) and his slightly raspy and nasal voice. Later, he explained that he was suffering from flu, which explained why he avoided almost all of the high notes and his voice cracked a few times.

And as usual, the concert was just like a mass karaoke session. It was really thrilling to see the entire stadium on their feet, waving their light sticks/posters and singing along fervently. We even spotted two crazy fans in full Winnie The Pooh and Eeyore mascot outfits, bouncing up and down.

Alright, let me sum up the concert in a few points:

The highlights

– <<安静>> and <<黑色幽默>>
Jay Chou playing the gorgeous grand piano and singing sad ballads….mmm. The two songs are from his first and second albums and they happen to be two of my favourite 周杰伦 songs. Yay to old songs.

– <<不能說的秘密>>
When the video montage of the movie came on screen, the crowd went wild. Trev and I were gasping to each other “oh my God, I love this part! And this song!” throughout.

“最美的不是下雨天/是曾與你躲過雨的屋檐”. 方文山 is a lyrical genius.

– <<听妈妈的话>>
The best part of the song has to be the video that was playing as he sang. We had a lovely surprise when 周润发 popped up on the screen, wearing a cap and doing all sorts of rapper-esque actions. And then, hey, that’s 张学友 singing the chorus! It was hilarious!

– The three encores
When Jay announced that he was singing the last song, Trev and I looked at each other in horror. And when he disappeared off the stage, the crowd started chanting his name. As expected, he had an encore and it was <<阳光宅男>>. That’s one of my favourite songs from his <<我很忙>> album and I went NUTS. It was just cool being able to bop along and sing it.

The not-so-great parts

– Crazy long queue for the merchandise
We all gave up all thoughts of buying anything when we saw the snaking line. After the concert, we went back to the stall, hoping that there were still stuff for sale but all there was left were his old merchandise, CDs and DVDs. Jimmy’s colleague, who went for the Jan 19 session, said that there weren’t any merch for sale on that day at all.

– He didn’t sing our favourite songs
It was odd. 南拳妈妈 were the special guests and with Lara around, we expected him to sing <<珊瑚海>> but he didn’t. Other faves like <<枫>>, <<搁浅>> and <<龙卷风>> were no-shows either. Sad.

But we really had fun and it was worth the three-year wait since his last “Incomparable” tour in 2004. The best thing about his concert is really the mahoosive crowd who will sing along and scream their lungs out. In such an electrifying environment, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself.

!(imgcenter)http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2004/2206120080_15c91fee7a_m.jpg(Huge crowd)!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/2206120080/

Little Miss Shopaholic

This Fashion

The following conversation between two fashion editors of a very popular women’s magazine was overheard by my intern:

Fashion ed #1: So she said she went to Bangkok to shop! Yucks!
Fashion ed #2: Oh my God! That is so disgusting.

I am thanking my lucky stars that I don’t write for that magazine because I would surely be ostracised by the fashiony types (as I have come to call them) by striding around in my Bangkok and This Fashion dresses. Yes, you read right: one of my favourite haunts is This Fashion. Someone I know once jested that whenever she steps into The Fashion, she would “look left, look right” to make sure that nobody she knows is around. But no, not me.

In my current phase, I have moved away from being a brand snob. Understanding that my taste evolves from time to time, I have become a budget fashionista – whatever looks good on me and fits my tiny budget goes into my wardrobe. While I used to prefer clean lines from Mango, Zara and Tangs, I now gun for quirky, interesting items from all sorts of boutiques.

But that’s not to say that I compromise on basic principles like good quality material and flattering cuts. Bad sewing is a huge no-no, so is cheap-looking satin. There are tonnes of items that are badly made and of poor quality but the best part about shopping there must be the joy that accompanies finding an exceptionally good buy that fits and is easy on the wallet too. In fact, I once chanced upon a replica of the supremely sexy Roland Mouret “Galaxy” (which I had desired for a bit) that was pretty well-made. Unfortunately, it didn’t fit well.

Here are four of my favourite buys from this beloved chain:
!(img)http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1009/1462584845_c5a0a2b3c9_m.jpg(Tartan dress)!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/1462584845/ !(img)http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1404/557401230_75a02cef5d_m.jpg(Click for larger view)!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/557401230
!(img)http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2313/2019312389_05485e44e8_m.jpg(Click for larger view)!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/2019312389/ !(img)http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2058/1553639142_8c0b5f0cc2_m.jpg(Click for larger view)!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/1553639142/

Clockwise from top left: Tartan dress, little red caardigan, black trapeze dress with crochet sleeves, black minidress with ruffles

The best part? All are under $35.

Perhaps one day, I might deign to splurge on an authentic Marc by Marc Jacobs or DVF dress. But till that day comes, I will be watching my wallet closely and channelling my Little Miss Shopaholic demon into wallet-friendly buys.

Friends, The organised chaos

Supplise!

The signs were all pointing to an elaborately thought-up conspiracy but somehow, I managed to brush aside all of them away for one of the most amazing birthdays ever.

Surprise #1: When we hit the road, I had no clue where we were heading to (always a good thing when the driver is the engineer of the supplise). The fiance got mildly annoyed when the ever-inquisitive me badgered him for our destination. “Stop guessing and irritating me,” he growled.

Surprise #2: We turned into Vivocity and I thought, ah hah! I started listing the restaurants in the megamall mentally but was taken aback when he looked at his watch and muttered, “We need to get to our dinner venue.” Huh? Turning away from the cluster of restaurants, we instead walked towards HarbourFront. Cable car time (for the uninitiated, I love cable car rides)!

Surprise #3: Given that Sentosa is the venue of our nuptials, my guess initially swung that way. But we didn’t alight at Sentosa. “Mount Faber?” I ventured. “Sort of,” he said. Everything was made clear when we stepped out of the cable car and went to Altivo.

Surprise #4: The dinner raised some of my suspicions. When we were ushered into the restaurant, we walked towards a long table with a “reserved” sign on it. I had a hunch that he was planning something since the night before, when he was perpetually on his mobile phone, texting away. But we ended up at a table for two so I pooh-poohed my guesses away. When he directed me to the seat that faced the scenery, I thought he was being sweet and wanted me to have the glorious, expansive view. And when we started chatting long after the dishes had been clear, I was slightly puzzled, wondering why he hadn’t called for the bill as he usually would. As we talked, he dipped his hand into his camera bag innocuously and I remembered thinking, hey, why is he getting his camera…

Suddenly, there were people singing the birthday song behind me. I whipped around to see Graec, Dopey, Sandy, Bralala, Skunk, Bernie, Nyrtap and Popartgirl gathered around me with a cake and singing with huge wide grins on their faces.

I was speechless.

I usually have words for every occasion but this time, I was struck wordless. My eye welled up with tears and I could only open my mouth wide, dumbfounded. And then they finished singing and plonked the cake in front of me while words still eluded me.

Finally, all I could manage was, “What are you all doing here?!”

So, the fiance has pulled off a brilliant plan right under my nose while in cahoots with our friends. No wonder he was busy texting the whole of Friday and Saturday. No wonder I had everyone asking me what plans we had for my birthday – Nyrtap even cooked up a story about his friend JB visiting from Perth. Thinking back, my reply to him (“Oh yeah, JB. He must love Singapore so much, he comes here every year”) must have sent him into fits of mirth. No wonder the fiance was happily discussing the wedding guest list after dinner.

I’ve never been so touched in my life – that the boyf had put in so much planning to make me happy on my birthday, that our friends had generously travelled up to Mount Faber to be with me.

So thank you all for making this birthday so memorable. It was truly super fantastic!!

!(imgcenter)http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2225/2188402499_a8317e450d_m.jpg(Click for larger view)!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/2188402499/

Looks like Zoe has the same idea as I did!

The organised chaos

The apple and her tree

As I was walking out of the MacPherson industrial park area this afternoon, I was suddenly struck by the thought that 20 years ago, my father could have walked down the exact same tree-lined path.

When I was a kid, I never knew exactly what he did. My knowledge was limited to the fact that he worked at the 报馆 and brought home lots of magazines every month. Needless to say, my fascination for fashion was started by my very early induction into the world of Her World and Go.

It was only much later when I went through Dad’s old namecards that I realised he was a circulation manager. For which newspaper or magazine, I never knew. Which is a real shame but then again, I was only six when he passed on.

And now, 20 years later, his daughter is working in the same company, at the same location. How strangely coincidental and weirdly touching. No wonder my mother was so nostalgic about that place, and really excited about my accepting the job.

……….

Speaking of the mother, she can be really hilarious. We were having dinner this evening when the home landline started ringing. As a rule, I seldom pick up the telephone unless I have a hunch that it’s my call (90% of the time, the call is for her) so she got up from her seat and walked out to the living room to answer the call, grumbling a little as she did.

“Hello? Yes, yes it’s me. Yes, I am at home now.”

I almost choked on my food because of the sheer silliness of her greeting (see if you can catch why it’s so funny). And then I stopped and thought for a moment, and came to realization that I have actually inherited some of her funny quirks.

……….

I guess the apple really doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

Health Goddess, The organised chaos

Just a little older

!(imgleft)http://farm1.static.flickr.com/96/264002731_29f7f3d1e6_m.jpg(Err??)!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmyliew/264002731/
I found out I am getting old in two ways.

The first was a MSN conversation with Pinkbee.
Pinkbee: When is your birthday?
Me: I don’t know. Let me check the calendar. (checks) OMG it’s next Saturday.

The second was a phone conversation with the boyfriend.
Him: So we have an appointment with Wan Sheng this Saturday.
Me: Okay.
Him: We’ll meet him in the afternoon and then go out and celebrate your birthday, okay?
Me: You mean it’s my birthday this Saturday?!

See, my excuse is that the new job has completely taken over all my functional capacity. And because of it, I am not really in a festive mood. Which is a shame because who says that birthdays should be celebrated on just one day? Heck, we should make it a week-long event! A birthweek! Anybody wants to date me?

Hence, my birthday wishes for this year (my last year of singlehood, according to Trev):
1) To blow out 27 candles on my birthday cake
2) Lots of lurrrvin’ from my friends and family
3) A gorgeous dress watch
4) Vouchers never hurt
5) A modified Wii (fun fun fun fun!)

………

In other news, I suspect my limbs are going to malfunction tomorrow. Just came home from the Sista’s killer BodyPump class and I swear that woman is a little cuckoo (like me, but in a different way). Upped my weights today and felt exuberant about it, until the boyfriend had to carry my gym gear for me (I love that man!) because I had lost all feeling in my arms.

Squats – 10kg
Chest – 5kg
Back – 9kg
Triceps – 5kg
Shoulders – 4.55kg
Biceps – 4kg

I shall not be wussy and load up for the chest and biceps next week.

……….

I’m 27 and life’s good. Oh, a big shoutout to Perfy: “Hello and happy birthday!”