Here’s why I am very, very determine to celebrate Chinese New Year big time. I am going to bake cookies, cakes, cook up a storm, already bought 7 suits of new clothes, booked all my in-laws to have lunch at my apartment on the first day of CNY etc.
Before Vincent was born and when my mother-in-law was around, I was assigned as the tai kah soh (eventhough my atm is the youngest of eight siblings) to handle family matters. MIL will stay with us, all her cucu-cicik, descendants of three generations had to gather at my house (in Sungai Ara).
Damn pahwer, I tell ya. Everyone has to travel all the way to my home and eat my food and get my angpows. If you live in a traditional Chinese family, you will know that not every has that privilege. So, I shouldered that for years, not because I like it but because my mother-in-law enjoyed it.
Vincent was born in Sept 2001 and on Feb 2002 (Chinese New Year thereabout), my family had gone through the toughest upheveal. We spent months in hospitals. Some shitty doc actually prescribe two 6 foot high oxygen tanks for Vincent.
You know, that two tanks can kill the whole neighbourhood should it explode? (that’s another story) When Vincent was home, both he and I were tied to the tanks like cows. The max I could go was about 5 feet.
But few months before Feb 2002, I got to know Dr. Cheang of Lam Wah Ee Hospital and I was sort of cut off from the grazing field. He introduced oxygen concentrator, a machine we had to rent for RM750 (?) per month. He introduced mini oxygen tank the size of a huge camera tripod. So, Vincent and I finally see the light. Both equipments rental costs us about RM1,200 per month. Thank God we somehow found the means to deal with that.
Come Chinese New Year 2002, I decided to give everyone a break and try to go back to ‘normal life. My three older kids had been on topsy-turvy schedules. So, I thought, why not try to act normal and celebrate Chinese New Year like we usually did? Just for their sake. They love the angpows and companies. Morever, Vincent was looking promising with chubby cheeks.
I am one helluva person who managed to cook up a feast despite of the fact that I had to take care of Vincent 24/7 which means chest phsyio, nebuliser, suction and the whole nursing routine. Heck, I don’t know how I managed. God’s grace, I suppose.
So, finally, the whole in-laws and out-laws managed to meet Vincent. I had not allowed anyone to visit him earlier. Because I don’t want my siblings and in-laws to feel traumatised by his condition. (Weird woman, me.) Everyone coo-ed and coo-ed over him.
Chinese New Year was great in 2002.
(to be continued)