Friday, March 02, 2007

Dear Cousins (first and second, Mom's and Dad's side etc etc, esp. Mom's side) :

I had a lot of fun growing up with all of you. You know who you are, especially the ones who crammed into my Mom's old boneshaker every Saturday afternoon to go 1) kite-flying in Marine Parade, 2) bicycling in Bishan, 3) Fantasy Island in Sentosa, and 4) anything else you guys can recall.

I guess it all started when I was 12, and we took our first overseas trip together to Australia. To me, that was more memorable than Disneyland. Most of us (including our parents) began the trip a little uncertainly, because we weren't very familiar with each other. I think at the end of those 3 weeks, we all got pretty close, huh? And it didn't end with that, I'm glad to say...After Australia, there was Bangkok, Koh Samui, China, Egypt, and Chiang Mai (remind me if I've missed anything out).

I was reminiscing today with one of the "gang" like an old grandmother ("Ah Kong", you know who you are), and you know what, I have to say, if there's one thing my mom did that she did right with me, it was that "Blood is Thicker Than Water". She set an example to me by organizing little trips and gatherings for my cousins and I, thus instilling the concept that besides being great in laying down fond memories, our families are there for each other.

Of course, there's always the great food that went along with it. Food at No. 16, food at Tuas seafood restaurant, Uncle Jimmy's, No. 16...Oh wait, I mentioned that already, right?

Oh, and who can forget all those games we used to play? When we were younger and more physically active, there was Police & Thief, Catching, and...Soda-Pop I think was one of them? Then, when we got older, we "sat down" and played card games like Heart Attack, Taiti, Bridge...Oh and I remember there was this other game we used to play, where everyone sat in a circle, and winked at each other...I think it was called Detective, or something.

Other activities included gathering for the Saturday night movie, gossiping about school (in our school uniforms), and we got older, the games went away, but the conversations, catching up, and drinking, and mahjong, didn't...=)


I've missed out for 5 years. And I guess we're all pretty grown up now. I think half of us has finished college (some are on their second degrees, my goodness!), but we've all passed that point in our lives when we were all kids, haven't we? And I guess a few things have changed here and there in terms of who's around, and who's not around (NS, overseas studies, work etc).

I don't regret leaving for this period of time. I've found myself in a different culture and had some amazing life experiences. I've found passion for certain things in life that I could never fully explore back home.

And yet, the call of "kith and kin" remains strong. Some people laugh at my use of this old Scottish adage, but hey, when you're British-educated, sometimes you just use those Ye Olde English words.

I remember when I was about 16 or 17, Shijin said to me, "I hope we stay close when we all grow up. Sometimes, people drift away, but after sharing so much together as kids, it'd be a waste if none of us ever stayed together as adults and shared our experiences with our own children."

Yes, just as my mom did.

Dear cousins, the point of this long-winded nostalgic essay is this: I cherish the times we shared together. Let's not ever allow those lovely memories to fade away. And the best way to achieve that is if we continue to have our little get-togethers, even after the "old" generation has passed, and show, not tell, our children that Blood is Thicker than Water.

In no particular order, this essay was written for:

CSYing (Honestly, you were my best friend-who-was-also-a-relative),
(don't forget the wishing well!),
Mee Pok,
WSwei (I'll never call you Brandon),
WSJin (hey, remember when you were a "Min"?),
Lisa, Roy, Meimei,
Bernie, XYi, XXian,
Elvine, Elaine,

Darren, Jasmine

I sincerely hope I haven't forgotten anyone. Oh wait a minute, this essay is also written for all the parents of the above listed. Without your love of food and each other's company, I wouldn't have the memories I have of my growing years.

PS: If any of you would do me a huge favor a send along a photograph with most of us in it, that'd be terrific. I'll show you all off to my coworkers and show them the meaning of "kith and kin" too!