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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nov 17, 18, 19... lots of birthdays of family members

Since my epic food poisoning last week, I continued my semi-retreat into a writing session of my screenplay.

So the entire week just came and went.

I just came to a realization that Nov 17, 18 and 19 are birthdays of many people I know. In fact, I have 3 different family members and relatives celebrating their birthdays on these three successive days.

Nov 17th was my mom's.

Mum before leaving Kamakura

It's also the birthday of numerous other people I know, from past to present. Here's the Facebook status update I posted that day.

Today's my mom, Chik Soon Come's birthday. Also primary school classmates Nicholas Tang and Yean Ping's; secondary school classmate Yan Yan Yeap's, current lab mate Aya Sunaoka's and friend/noted music legend Ywenna Carollin's.

(It was also another lab mate Kubouchi's birthday as well, didn't mention him cos' he's not on Facebook)

Ywenna is the pianist of the band Tokyo Blue.

(Back in 2006, I borrowed a song 'Dizzy' from Ywenna's earlier band RHAPSODY to use as the ending theme in my student short, VERTICAL DISTANCE, which since I uploaded on Youtube, had became a rally cry for men who are dating women taller than them, or women dating men shorter than them)

Nov 18th was my cousin Pooi Kuan's. She's the daughter of my mother's brother (my 3rd Uncle). She turned 23, in Facebook she calls herself 'Wince', I don't know whether that's an actual name or not.

Here's a 2008 photo of her with her brother, mother and our grandma.

3rd Uncle's Wife, cousins Foo Keong and Pui Kuan and Grandma

19th was my other cousin, Kian Tat's. He's the son of my mother's sister (my 4th Aunt). He turned 17.

Here's also a 2008 photo of him with his younger brother and his mom. Back then people used to note how he bore an uncanny resemblance to me. But since last year, he had gotten way skinnier (diet pills, I assume, because I am bitter and I don't believe people can become skinny that easily), so the resemblance is more or less gone.

4th Auntie and her two kids

It's very random, but I didn't realize that November 17, 18, 19th were all birthdays of my family until yesterday.

Of course, having so many relatives from my mother's side, things like that are bound to happen. (Mom has 7 other siblings, and all 8 have a total of 21 children, so I have 20 other cousins. Just my mom's side) Nonetheless, I still think it's kinda interesting.

I don't exactly want to sound like a Facebook sycophant, but I have to say, these birthday reminders are pretty much one of their most important features (okay, it was also in Myspace and Friendster too, but still...) The majority of my relatives are using Facebook. Even some of my aunts too.

I feel a strange sort of warmth when I see cousins of mine wishing one another happy birthday even though they live in different cities and such.

During my annual trip to Ipoh (mom's hometown) for Chinese New Year, I had lamented with my cousin Hing Yip about how, as we've grown up, we became rather distant from one another. We had gone our separate ways even though we were gathering in Ipoh. One would spend time with his girlfriend, another with friends, one would have other commitments etc.

Me and my cousins were pretty close during my childhood, going to Ipoh, or them visiting Kuala Lumpur, were one of the greatest sources of my joy then. When in Ipoh, the TV room was a place where all of us would gather to play video games. Back then it was my Super Nintendo, years went by and it became the Playstation 2, and the younger cousins became the ones playing.

Visiting Ipoh in the last few years, we would still laugh, chat, and talk about stuff, but briefly. Only during dinners when we sometimes sat together. Or when we were watching something on TV. But moments like that had became rare.

Cousin Mun Yoong had just became the first among us all to get married, and he will be a father soon.

We were children of the MTV generation, so I reminisce about playing the Super Nintendo and games like Mario Kart or Street Fighter or Secret of Mana or Final Fantasy 6 (it was multiplayer, something many people had forgotten, and also something recent Final Fantasy games should have had!). I find it a little amusing that video games would be something I feel nostalgic about. But it's undeniable that it was a communal experience for us then. But sometimes we watched cartoons together too, or anime.

Yup, that was me, and my cousins, when we were growing up.

I'm not implying that Facebook is something that will bring us together, or serve as a replacement for those previous experiences. Some things can't be replaced, these memories, mundane as they seemed then, were meant to be treasured. That's why this blog post, which I initially only wanted to remark about the three birthdays, suddenly became a remembrance of lost time.