"Kok, can I find you later at 4.30? I wanna borrow your hard drive. Don pass to me now. Wanna concentrate in pharmac for a while."Vincent, in an SMS on Saturday
I can't believe I didn't spot the signs in this message.
Most of the pictures in this post came from either Vincent or Lai Yin.
Okay, I think you guys must be so sick of me talking about my birthday that you're puking rainbows and Disney feature films from your guts. But it IS (was, whatever) my birthday, and I reserve the right to protract it for as long as I want to. And there's nothing you can do about it.
I'll wager that you didn't expect a part 3 in a 2-part anthology. Ha!
The set-up was this; Vince told me that he wanted to skive some movies off my portable hard disk1. So he popped up at 4.30 am just like he said he would. He sat down beside me in front of my entertainment station (also known as my-laptop-on-my-desk), asked me whether I've taken any pictures recently and told me he would like to take a look. Vince's like that. He's a photography buff. Ask him to show you his album. His stuff makes my pictures look like kindergarten crayon projects.
I noticed that he spotted an envelope with the words "Happy Birthday" emblazoned across it, but he acted as if he did not see it. That's what I do. I watch people all the time. When they are eating. When they are walking. When I'm talking to them or when they are talking to someone else. I found that I can really learn a lot if I only pay attention.
His reaction did not tally.
I noted that oddity but made no further pursuance of it. I just had lunch with Liv and my brain was still kind of foggy.
Then there was the sound of someone walking into my anteroom. Vince had left the door open for;
I wish I can say that I had cleverly deduced that such a thing was going to happen - but I can't. I was totally, completely, one-hundred-percently gobsmacked. Utterly. I mean, if I expected something of this sort to occur, I would have gelled up my hair, spruced up and stuck a bow-tie at my neck instead of greeting the merrymakers looking like hobo supremo. And, I would NOT have worn that cissy pink shirt2.
My famed eloquence have failed me completely. All I could do was smile sheepishly as half a dozen friends reeled into my really tiny anteroom and sang the birthday song.
This is the second ever surprise birthday celebration I ever had. The first was in 2004; the one I shared with Gee.
What I noticed immediately was that the cake was enormous. Much bigger than what our little party can safely eat.
A bad feeling hit me like a salmon.
My room was pretty much in the same state as how I looked. Imagine that the five happy gay friends from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy are hurricanes, and that they have just gave me and my pad a makeover. When they are old and myopic. And drunk. And high. That was how my room looked like.
Plus, I don't have a dining table. Or chairs. Or floor space (which was covered on every square inch by dirty laundry, clean laundry, books, things that look like books, and things that look like they came from Venus). So the only sensible (and humane) solution was to move the festivities over to Vince's, Nickson's and Lai Yin's Red Quadruplex.
Check out the photograph above. Vincent called it my "marching off to war" picture. Sorry about how my place currently looks like. I thought post-apocalyptic bomb-shelter chic was in vogue.
Once I was comfortably settled in a chair over at their place, they sprang "The Birthday Tradition" at me. One thing you need to know about "The Birthday Tradition" is that it's not a tradition at all. It's actually any one item from the large recorded compendium of either disgusting or embarassing acts that the birthday kid is suppose to perform (or undergo) to amuse the others. A classical one is the Swimming Pool Heave-Ho. Another crowd favourite is the Remove-the-Candles-with-Lips which is invariably followed by the Confectionery Facial (AKA the Cake Face-plant). Over the years, these "Traditions" have evolved to exceedingly bizarre levels and increasingly high degrees of hilarity.
The one I got was an oldie - the Hand-Feed-the-Birthday-Boy-with-Cake.
Li Lian did it first and I closed my eyes, expecting the very worst - but it went by uneventfully. Yum, noice cake. I can handle this. No prob.
Next up was Lai Yin. I opened my cake-hole for the bite, but Lai Yin didn't like that hole, apparently. So she shoved the cake - strawberry cream and all - up my nose;
I smelled strawberries wherever I went for days after. That was the first time ever I had cake up my sniffer. Cowabunga!
I went through everything with a big, goofy smile on my face, and not much words to say. I was touched that I have such a lovable bunch of friends living next-door3 that would take the trouble to make my 21st birthday special.
And also, having cake up one's nose does not really encourage clever conversations.
Of course, all these good feelings made me especially magnanimous that day, so I threw a pizza party that night for everybody. Ho ho ho;
Was Nickson drinking vodka? If yes, I know that face.
Li Lian produced a bottle of vanilla-flavoured Smirnoff vodka and I believe I got a teeny weeny bit tipsy (not drunk, Li Lian - just tipsy!).
And we played my favourite party game ever; MAFIA! The first time I played it was in Kuching over at Yun's house with my old college buddies - and also in our little wooden lodge during our Bako National Park trip, when Yinn Khurn the Mafioso staged a suicide, managed to convince a suggestible Joo Yin the Doctor to heal him using vigorous hand-signals4 - and yet still lost in the end in an execution spearheaded by Keat Seong and I (the Awesomest Civilians in business!) on the grounds that we just felt like killing someone innocent.
Now, I've added another page to my mental scrapbook;
Thank you, guys. For everything.
Also, a shout-out to Inn Shan, Sze Yin and Shaki, and Abby for this spiffy looking novel. I'll get onto it as soon as I'm done with the 7th Potter book. I'm on a read-abstinence policy at the moment. You know how food tastes better when you're hungry? Same principle.
And when I went out to give Socks the slice of birthday cake that had my boogers on it, this was the birthday present she gave me.
Sorry, Socks. I don't think it's going to work between us. I'm a human. And you're a bitch.
End of part 3 of 2
Happy, happy, happy,
k0k s3n w4i
1 I accidentally typed "hard dick" instead of "hard disk" in the earlier draft of this post. How very Freudian of me.
2 I received it as a parting gift when I left my part-time job at Giordano's Apparel. Honest.
3 All of them live next-door in various other units in Acharya Compound. Except Yin Yee. But she's moving here into the fourth unit of the quadruplex later anyway.
4 Thus clearing his name, indicating that someone else must be the Mafioso.