On house parties

Some parties are all about home: a couple's new flat in Sengkang, with floors freshly vacuumed, the new dining table gingerly protected by a plastic sheet and mirrors so cleanly sprung from their IKEA cladding that they haven't accrued fingerprints yet. Guests bring their spouses and babies, which is really a strategy to steer the conversation away from work. And all the food's homemade, except for the cake and ice cream, so it's a bit like one of those birthday parties I attended by the dozen as a kid, with easy-to-eat (fried) beehoon, (fried) noodles, curry puffs (extremely spicy!), (fried) fishballs, (fried) chicken wings and kueh galore.

Other parties are all about making home when home is far, far away: cartons and cartons of Moosehead lager, Farmland frozen burgers on the grill beside fresh fish from Tekka market, and a homemade cake that mysteriously vanished into thin air somewhere en route from the host's kitchen to the poolside barbecue. There's stories about how much damage a racoon can do to a car, to say nothing of a morose moose or a daredevil deer, followed by legendary tales of more recent mishap --- dragonboats colliding and rowers and oars going every which way. But the million dollar question is: Can a couple be not "together" if the girl is carrying the guy's swimsuit in her handbag when they leave the party?

The thing about attending parties, though, is that I'm at the age where you always have to bring something to the party, which is fine, but sometimes you're not really sure what to bring because the host was nice and vague about it, yet you know it wouldn't be kosher to show up empty-handed. So between spending about an hour shopping for each party immediately before having to commute to various parts of Singapore for said shindigs, I was pooped by 8 pm and begged off more Moosehead so that I could crawl home and sink my aching head onto the sofa.

Perhaps I'm just getting old.


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