A birthday party, senior citizen-style

Happy birthday, Gong

My grandfather rang in his 90th birthday last night with a chocolate cake from an HDB bakery, a short speech and toast by his eldest great-grandchild, and the flashbulbs of a dozen digital cameras of varying vintage. There was also the requisite nine-course Chinese dinner, and the presence of almost every family member who isn't living overseas, as well as his closest church mates.

This was the first Chinese dinner I attended that involved, technically, three servings of dessert. First, the Portuguese egg tarts (ho-hum). Then the ah bo ling (yum-yum). Then the birthday cake.

The most surreal moment: when Gong Gong's sitting behind his birthday cake with one great-grandchild perched on his lap and another ten or so huddled around him for the picture --- and in my mind's eye, I'm seeing a yellowed photograph from the late 1970s, when he was similarly surrounded by my cousins and me, with Packrat (now a daddy himself) in Gong Gong's arms. The quintessential composition of the picture hasn't changed, nor have the expressions of the children, nor has the aesthetic of the cake. It's just my grandfather who's somewhat older and more distinguished-looking.

Though I suppose the kids are also dressed a lot more hip than we used to be.


Related post: A little birthday fuss

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