31 December 2008

Year End Escapades

The end of the year is always a mixed bag and way too fast a way to close the year for me. But like all boring people who aren't out there screaming a countdown and drinking their livers to poop, I'm blogging. Ok, I've got a glass of wine in one hand... but that doesn't count.

The fest-acti-vities begin with Christmas. (Christmas Eve panic shopping to be exact.) A drive to the serene rubber-estate-cum-kampung for a mega Eve bash with the Kong family, their inlaws, outlaws, grandkids and other farm animals. Then comes Christmas day dinner with my family. A short respite in between and then it's wife's birthday (29th) and the curtain drops on the 31st.

I've learnt that panic shopping lands you up with crummy gifts. By crummy I mean you feel really crappy when you open up your presents and find expensive fragrances and such and you remember that you gave them a shower radio or picture frame. I tried to make up for the injustice by treating my family to Dim Sum on Boxing Day.

Christmas Eve

The festivities in the outback of Kuala Sawah on Eve never ceases to impress me. It's always phenomenal - the amount of food, the number of people and the family dynamics. In that order. This year there was so much food I was hoping all the poor and homeless of Seremban would show up; and even then there'd be food to spare. People did stream in till late night, some in their BMWs and Mercedes negotiating tight estate dirt-lanes. And the family, oh my - there's the multilingual pastor-uncle who leads a service, an octagenarian great-grandma who puts the fear of God in all things alive, the 50-something aunt who cycles up mountains for fun and bakes up cakes to live and die for, and the uncle who roasts turkeys... just to name a few stellar characters.

Christmas day

We slept in and crept into the Nepalese service instead of our regular English one. I'm glad we did. We didn't understand a word, but that was not the point. It was celebrating in a way that encapsulated the spirit of Christmas in the most poignant way. Here we were, three Chinamen in the back of a hall of strapping Nepalese men (with odors to match, I might add), feeling altogether foreign. And they were singing beautiful hymns and carols in a language I didn't understand about a God who did understand all human flesh and its faltering attempts to reach Him; about a baby born to live the life we couldn't live; and about the man who died that we would not. Jesus showed us true empathy - entering into another's experiential world fully and sensitively; living our lives, dying our deaths. And I got to taste a tiny bit of the spirit of that empathy for the briefest moment.

Boxing day?
The Yaps basically hunched and slouched around a feast of Dim Sum, gorging dumplings, slurping tea, reminiscing everything from Castlewolfenstein (a PC game which me and my brother spent disproportionate amounts of our childhood on) to I can't remember what.. I was drunk on tea.

Wife's birthday.
Now this is when the stress hormones work overtime. Getting this one day wrong is the beginning of a year of misery. Having a wife who works shifts and gets her weekly roster on Sunday (when her birthday is Monday) DOES NOT HELP. And when you've got a barely-2-yr-old whose meals and baths need to be planned down to the ounce - it's a disaster until proven otherwise. But GOD was smiling on me this time. From the moment I got confirmation of Monday & Tuesday off, I got to work, and things just miraculously fell into place. Online booking for hotel & spa package - click click click done. Call to mom for babysitting - dial, beg, done. Plan itinerary and cover story. Done.

Come the morning, we dropped off Ethan at mom's and he gleefully bade us go and have fun. Didn't she say she wanted to shop at Isetan? So to KLCC we went. Oh, you don't need me to hang around and rather I bugger off to look at gadgets? Meet you in an hour? Great!! In that one hour I sprinted off to Impiana, checked in, got a top-floor room to get a view of KLCC park, confirmed the spa booking, ran back to the KLCC, got flowers.. all in the knick of time. Ring ring.. where shall I meet you? How about Sundanese food darling? Sprint sprint.. hide flowers under the chair, stop panting. In walks the love of my life, I pull her a chair and spring the lilies on her. A symbol of your feminine sexuality, I proudly declare (I got that off Google while crossing the road!) OK.. let's go somewhere else now. As we pulled out of KLCC and onto Jln Pinang (which is where Impiana is), I exclaim, OH NO, I left something at KLCC!! I gotta turn back! And swerve into the hotel car park. It took her all of 20 seconds before she realised that's where we were going to stay.. Well, it was worth the short suspense. The room was cosy and sleek. The massage sensuously amazing (a Balinese massage better than what we got in Bali, to be honest.) And the horizon pool perched over the city with the towers in full view, breathtaking. She was thrilled to bits. 2009 is going to be glorious.

Well, today is New Year's Eve. For the first time in my life I can look back and say I achieved all my resolutions for 2008. And that's because this time last year I didn't make any save one: I resolved not to make any resolutions anymore. That's the secret formula to fulfilment by the way: F = A/E (where F= fulfilment, A= accomplishment, and E= expectation). When E --> 0, F --> infinity. INFINITE fulfilment! Genius no? Well, while the fireworks are banging off and beers are being consumed by the barrel, I'm thumping on my PC which will soon be decomissioned while my Mac is running BootCamp. I've got a Merlot smooth as silk in hand and my wife is cackling behind me reading Tony Parsons. It's a good life, she just planted me a kiss and we wished each other Happy New Year. It's been a mad year but I wouldn't trade it for anything else. Come 2009 - give me everything you've got!

1 comment:

Jiang said...

Mr Yap, really a nice blog that you have. Amazed with the things you are & were doing. What's that really nice song that you put for the Christmas Eve's video clip ?