It's not been too exciting of a Year of the Horse so far, but it's still been more interesting than the average week in 2002. Alternatively, perhaps I'm just glad that I'm not completely knackered by the Wednesday of this week. I had nine hours of sleep last night --- nine. The last time I did that was last Friday night, when I got home from work, we tossed around the idea of going out for dinner, but then I fell asleep in front of the couch at 7:45 pm and that was the end of the evening for us.

To catch everyone up, yesterday was the first day of the Chinese/Lunar New Year. The night before was the night of the reunion dinner. Traditionally, this means that everyone goes home to their parents (following a distinctly patriarchal line, as usual) for dinner and general festivities. In modern Singapore, this translated to a dinner at a Chinese restaurant with Terz's family as well as his aunt and grandma on his mother's side --- not quite traditional, no, but suitably festive. We had the obligatory-in-Singapore yu sheng (raw fish plus colorful shredded veggies plus crackers plus sweet sauce, stirred into a kaleidoscopic mess) to start things off, followed by the even more obligatory Too Much Food. The restaurant in question was the Kelong place at Thomson Plaza, but I admit the food wasn't as good as usual, probably because of the mad Chinese New Year rush. The steamed fish was overcooked, for instance, although the prawns were exceedingly fresh and yummy (according to Terz; I don't eat prawns usually).

Yesterday, we idled the morning away, then received a phone call from my mom asking if we were going to drop by at their place before meeting at my aunt's. Ooops. It turned out that our usual routine before (and this is only our third year of doing this) was to hang out at my parents' place for a bit before heading to the giant family gathering at my aunt's. I know I did it last year because Terz was out of the country, so I had nothing to do in the morning anyway. But this year --- whoops. Since it was a little late for two stops, I apologized profusely --- fortunately, Mom didn't mind --- and we all rendezvoused at the aunt's. This is an aunt on my maternal side, by the way. Terz's family routine doesn't involve visiting any of his relatives, so on the first day of each New Year, we usually visit my mom's relatives first (at the aforementioned giant gathering) and then my paternal grandma in the late afternoon.

At the giant gathering, I got soundly ribbed for the current public relations situation involving my job (keyword: [Ed: deleted]). Without divulging anything that would get me prosecuted under the Official Secrecy Act, I had little defence against a cousin who was grumbling about the rights of ninjas to wear headscarfs and how his little ninja boys would never get to primary school at this rate. Yes, it was supposed to be funny. Okay, it was funny at the time. Fortunately, he was the only one who gave me a hard time about it.

We also spent some time getting acquainted with Spike, the terrier-type my cousin had shipped back from Australia with him. Spike is, naturally, a huge misnomer. While he's got a formidable growl, the fluffy guy spends most of his time amiably leashed up and, even when the leash is removed, all he does is sniff around and then flop himself onto the floor wherever he's comfortable. Not too Spike-like at all. (Spike is a BtVS reference, naturally; my cousin wrote his honors thesis on the show).

And we ate a lot. Lunch was, ostensibly, chicken curry, sayur lodeh, zhap chye, and rice. But then there were all the usual New Year snacks lying around, and peanuts, and mandarin oranges. We were there for about three and a half hours, and I don't think we stopped eating for more than fifteen minutes at a time. I think Chinese New Year is way more damaging to one's diet than Christmas; at least Christmas traditions don't involve all manner of snack foods. In the time it takes a regular person to munch on a candy cane, you could eat half a jarful of pineapple tarts without thinking about it or feeling the same sickening sweetness coat your tongue.

In the late afternoon, we visited my grandma. She recently acquired a cat (well, a kitten, now about teenaged) who's one of the least responsive cats I've ever met. The cat is curious, but mostly about inanimate objects. My grandmother speaks to it in a combination of Teochew and Malay, which is fascinating. So far, it only responds to her voice calling its name (Mimi), and I wonder if it's got anything to do with the linguistic intonations of either language, as opposed to the more "English" pronunciation of the name that my dad was using.


The weather was really too hot by the time we were done visiting my grandma, so we went home and I slept for two hours. Then there was more online fun. I've been doing nothing of late but read Sluggy Freelance. Any PernM* players reading this, you may or may not be interested to check out the PernM* BB as well. If nothing else, the Rants section assures me that I'm not the only one who gets exasperated with the same old problems of the game. And have you seen Bushy-wushy's LiveJournal yet?

Now it's time to get some lunch, get some beer, and wait for the friends who are coming over for mahjong.


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