Chap Goh Meh, Countdown


Family is mostly a wonderful element of life. It provides, for many, a raison d’etre for being. It is a driver – a potent one – for me and often, dominates to an extent where it does become the be all and end all. At least on a psychological and/or emotional level. It certainly occupies much of my thoughts and feelings.

And so on occasions such as on Saturday night when Tress and I were sitting on the deck of Uncle Jin and Auntie Pin’s busy home it is easy to drift along and continue believing. Bathing in the warmth and comfort of home cooked dishes and uncles, aunties and cousins and their partners, it sits up there as a preferred activity for a weekend, distance to their home notwithstanding (a 100km roundtrip).

Ray, Auntie Hooi and Uncle Marloney’s eldest, sat next to me the whole night. He joined the ATO after earning a commerce/law double, and has recently bought his own home which he talked about excitedly. Next to him is Chris, Natasha’s boyfriend. Nat is Ray’s baby sister. Chris is causasian, a tutor and looks like a nice fellow. Next to Nat was Kathleen, Auntie Anne’s and Uncle Seng’s youngest. She was the sole representative of her family that night. She works for a PR firm (Dentsu Aegis) a stone’s throw away from my office. Next to her was Sherry, UJ and AP’s youngest. She’s an engineer of sorts and her husband. YW, also an engineer, wandered in and out of the house, mingling amongst the 2-3 groups who coalesce into one sometimes, then breaks off again. Next to Sherry was Boris, Marina’s boyfriend. Marina is Sherry’s older sister. Tress had Marina on one side and me on the other. She and I are the oldest of the group and it was great being amongst the younger group, although the average age of that group is probably closer to 30.

Family on the other hand, can also be a source of angst. As we sat down late yesterday (Sunday) arvo, having completed our household chores – Tress did loads of ironing and I cooked the week’s lunches – Tress received a video clip from her dad. She decided to ring for a chat. Her dad soon passed the call to her mum and before long, her mum was carrying on about the pain and expense of having to travel to Kiddo’s wedding. She came on strong about us picking up the tabs for guests’ airfares and hotel bills. I made a face at Tress, stuck my middle finger up rhetorically. Her mum has been doing a song and dance about trekking to Canberra and has repeatedly moaned and groaned about the whole thing so I was tempted to think this airfare and hotel bills shit had more to do with her spitting the dummy than us being generous. Money wasn’t the issue – it was her mum being her mum. Well her mum carried on for a bit, so I had enough and headed into the study to do some work – work I had assiduously put off as those emails kept coming in on Friday night and Saturday.

About an hour later I emerged from the study, things looked calm so I let it be, and watched TV together with her. The ever popular “Perfect Match”, Sino styled, warmed our hearts and made us smile, before the latest iteration of “24” came on at Channel 10. Even though I snoozed for a bit mid way, I kind of enjoyed the familiar themes, look and feel of the latest Baueristic responses. The CTU is almost family, for better or worse.

A few days ago I said to Tress it was less than 9 weeks to go. Having said all I have on the angst bit, I have to say I look forward to having the family around again when the time comes – in a bit over 8 weeks.

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