“Donkey! Donkey! Donkey Fatt Choy!!”
Brought the whole jing bang hope you all don’t mind.
Say hello aunty hello uncle, I tell you, children today, only know how to play with phones.
(All these years, and he still says donkey-fatt-choy and I see he’s added to his brood, bloody National Service hero like that.)
Come in, come in, take a seat, is this Ah Girl? My how she’s grown, and this must be Ah Boy, tall like beanstalk. The missus drink from fountain of youth ah? So these are the twins! Come, uncle aunty give angpow. (Alamak, kena give double this year.)
Yes, the twins, two for the price of one har-har-har. We missed you all last year. Traveling…escape angpow giving.
You know, I old-fashioned, follow government, stop-at-two, so I give $2 angpows hur-hur-hur.
Joking only, aunty uncle use $10 notes as angpow paper! (Ooh, that’s $48 already, I hope they brought oranges.)
Whaat? Two tins of sliced mandarins!
(The clown. He’d started out with a pair of mandarin oranges, swapped them for a potted orange tree, then exchanged that for a can of oranges.)
Oh yes haha very FIT (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) anything for a social media post.
Come, come, help yourself, this year we order from the best homebakes, except for the pineapple tarts we make ourselves. (Of course she wants the recipe, always the same story, when water also she doesn’t know how to boil.)
Open everything and eat as much as you want.
Children, you hear uncle aunty say if you want more inside kitchen got.
(Ohmygollygosh he has two tarts in each cheek while he demolishes a fifth.)
The price of bah kua! Like buying gold! Try the two varieties.
(Please, please…use the wet wipes and no, no, don’t rub fingers on the sofa, you silly sticky kids. Too late.)
What’s yours? Same old same old? Black, Blue, Green? No Platinum nor Gold, I’m allergic to metals, I’ve just those three labels. (Oh I say, hope the Macallans are not in view. This chap will not leave till the bottles are dry, and I start to cry.)
There’s roti peranchis (baguette) to go with the kari kapitan (chicken curry) oh we cook enough for all day Chinese New Year open house. (Hello, you stay all day then won’t be sufficient right?)
Hey, drink up man, you got no standard or what? Our children? Oh all grown, big buffaloes, one in civil service, one in marcom I don’t know what that is exactly, and the youngest one doing her own thing working from home. (Thanks to the Bank of Mom and Pop.)
No, not one married, what for, so comfortable at home…you want to recommend girlfriend boyfriend for the two oldest? (Over my dead body! If like your type gone case! Four kids, no manners, over-eat, you guzzle whisky like it’s water, your wife can’t cook, plus you come my home with sliced oranges for Chinese New Year! And the colour of your tie!)
You must marry off at least one, if not two, of your children, increase the tribe, then grandchildren will follow, such joy, young people afoot in your vintage years. Just golf and mahjong will not a happy life make. (Whiskilly speaking.)
Oh with mahjong I have three friends for life! That’s the secret to longevity.
Oh, boy, girl, try not to place the glasses on the piano, the glasses are wet…what’s that? You want to play the piano? (And so the child Liberace begins.)
Sweetheart, don’t hit the piano keys so hard, I can’t hear what aunty and uncle are saying.
We believe in well-rounded education, so she takes music lessons and her brother is in a sports clinic. (I may need a clinic soon if she spills her Pokka onto the keys…)
Ken! Barbie! Twins, you stop chasing the dogs, you’ll bang into something, and if you knock over anything you’ll have to use your ang pow money to pay uncle aunty. (Er, angpow money from me okay.)
Timah! Bukit! I round up the two dawgies for good measure. We are the only antiques in the house. Except for the single inherited family heirloom C14th Ming dynasty vase.
Children are very active these days, let them play. (With some luck they may break a leg…) No dear, you can’t pick and eat those kumquats off the tree, no, they are not poison, oh you can’t use those curly bamboos as fighting swords, and yes I do see you have dropped your angpow into the aquarium.
Don’t they nap in the afternoon? (Can I lock them in one of the bedrooms?)
Yes, in fact we must be going, they can doze in the car before the next house visit. (Good luck!)
It plays out in slow motion, my annual re-vision of how mother scoops up child, child’s gangly leg connects with the Ming dynasty vase and the chink and tinkle that ensue is…music to a Dyson vacuum cleaner.
Only 1368 to 1644, I gasp, 1368 to 1644, Ming dynasty, dynastic disaster.
What’s that 4-D numbers ah?
So sorry but lucky just a vase, if you put flowers more steady, come, wish uncle aunty donkey fatt choy, we have other houses to go to.
Happy Chinese New Year to you and yours, those celebrating, and if you don’t, but are just visiting, well donkey fatt choy!