Monday, February 14, 2005

3rd day of CNY


My uncle's bungalow at Bukit Seputih.

This morning we were scheduled to visit another uncle, my father’s brother. Awoke quite early since last night’s sleep was fitful due to the fact that my cousin’s friends arrived near midnight and stayed past 4 a.m. gambling. The din from their holler could be heard as our room was just a few feet away from where they held their session.

Soon enough the other aunts and uncles and cousins slowly arrived. More ang pows were distributed to everyone who hasn’t handed one over. Everyone was prim and proper whereas for me, I didn’t bring any of my long pants back due to the weight. Settled for a red shirt that I just got and three quarter pants. When everyone had arrived with the exception of one of the aunt’s family who declined to go, we headed off in a convoy of two cars towards his house at Bukit Seputih. Didn’t take long, the streets were mostly empty and driving was a breeze.

We were greeted by the barking of my uncle’s 3 dogs, 2 German Shepards and a Golden Retriever. Dr. Chong ushered us in and soon we were stuffing up with fried noodles and chicken curry, lucky too as all I had for breakfast was a cup of coffee and some cakes. Then came the interrogation, my aunt often likes to question how my life is going, especially the choice I made to study masters here in Sabah. Everytime it feels like I’m sitting in an interview, the hard questions on why I chose to do it here, why not choose something more ‘economically viable’, why not find a supervisor that is more well known, and the recrimination that I generally am not doing something worthwhile. I always hated this part, it no longer feels like a nice visitation to a relatives and always made me uneasy to talk to my aunt and uncle here. At last one of my uncles came to the rescue and her attention was diverted and I took the opportunity to be excused to go somewhere else.


Aunts and cousins enjoying the chat.

My dad has been on a charity drive with the relations for the past few days we were here and today was no exception. Most of them oblige as we were relations and that it was for a good cause, the local church building fund for a new community center. So my dad has been offloading coupon books at RM50 each to the aunts, uncles and cousins with the possibility of winning a few choice vehicles in the lucky draw to come. I don’t think I could’ve done that, always felt uneasy in getting people to pay for something like these, know I won’t make it as salesperson of the year. The only objection (which was a little humor) was from my uncle, dad asked him if he made cash from the gambling he would buy a stack and he agreed, so in a way us cousins who lost cash actually contributed.

Soon we had to be on our way, my cousins were pestering their mum to head home as kin Voon and his brother were already at the net café in SS3 and they all made arrangements to meet there for several rounds of Warcraft 2. Decided I’d tag along with them for the fun of it since there as nothing else to do and the shops around Kl were mostly shut. My uncle dumped us near the place and it was packed, finding a computer was near impossible as the usual patrons were there taking advantage of the holidays to play hours of games. My cousins found several empty coms and set out to play ASAP, I just watched on the sidelines as they blast away playing a map called DotA on Frozen Throne using only heroes. We took a break after several hours and had some light meal at Darul Ehsan mamak stall nearby and decided to head home. But alas the funny thing was when we went there we thought our cousin had a car to fetch everyone back and instead they too thought we came with our own transport. Thus we were stuck there, my cousin called his mother and we were told they were already at my uncle’s place and would only be free around 5 p.m. after they had finished preparations for tonight’s family dinner and so we had a long wait ahead.

Headed back to the Net café and had to wait as a crowd took over the computers while we were at lunch. It was interesting to watch the people go at it, the usual games were being played out such as Grand Theft Auto, Starwars battlegrounds, Warcraft, Ragnarok online etc. Was never partial to online gaming myself for the fact that you have to put a lot of time into it and the hefty subscription fees. Around 5 as promised we soon got our rides back.


Cousins feasting on the meal.

We had another family dinner tonight, this time home cooked by the aunts. Things were already in full swing when we got back, the aunts were all busy with the food preparations and the uncles were all chatty in the living room watching the usual CNY specials on ASTRO. This time one of our cousins, Han Han came with her kid and husband to join us. The little fellow was still in diapers being carried around the last time I saw him and now he’s zooming around the room at full speed. My other cousin, Meng Meng had already left on her honeymoon last night and was at Doha this morning and by now would be in Italy at this exact moment. Dinner was served with two tables as usual with the kids relegated to a smaller section while the adults dined at the main table. It funny as no matter how old we get we’d still be relegated to the kid’s section as the adult table would already be full with older cousins, no complains though as we would have the lion’s share of the grub.

We had to eat quite fast as we had reservations for Constatine at TGV at 9 but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the sweet sour tiger prawns, fried fish, vegetables, stewed pork and duck. 8 of us cousins headed out and met at 1 Utama. Show started quite late and a large crowd was jamming the entrance. When we got to our seats, I finally noticed something strange, the date of our tickets were for yesterday! Felt funny and my fears were confirmed when someone came to our seats. I went out to see the ticketing agent and complained that they had made a mistake as I specifically asked for a Friday ticket when I was there yesterday while I had on hand now was for a show that had passed. Was apprehensive as I realized that it was partially my fault for no double checking the date. At first he said that it was impossible to change it as the information on their computer were wiped out for shows that has passed but after much negotiating he said he would change the screening date and we had to settle for the 11.50 p.m. show and also with the second row seats.

I know too that my relations would not let me hear the end of it, imagine getting the wrong tickets and this was after I survived the grumbling that the 9 p.m. show was already late, what I never forced them to come, I just asked if anyone would like to go for a show and they said yes, for goodness sakes some of them are 17 years old, what is the fuss. Oh well there was one uncle that was happy though. Uncle Raymond thus had a chance for a few round of Blackjack again and true today, he went back with winnings, smaller than yesterdays but still good pickings.

It was okay, we headed out again for the second time today and this time there was no problems. The show was great, Keanu was good and I truly enjoyed a comic book adaptation for the first time (okay so it helps that I didn’t read the original Hellblazer to make comparisons). When we stepped out it was already 2 a.m. Most of the cousins agreed to sleep over as it was late but one insisted he wanted to get home so I had to ferry him back to Bukit Gasing. After chucking him back, we all felt a bit hungry thus a late night mamak stop for Maggi goreng. By the time we finally reached home it was 4 a.m. and I had a flight at 2 p.m. tomorrow. Slept instantly.

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