Saturday, July 12, 2008

I am 30 - happy,humbled...heavier

Dear readers;

My second article for Malaysian Today under the Writer's Blog segment.

Months back, I had planned a big celebration to commemorate the big 3-0. From the venue, theme and guest list to the party favors, dress and even the type of hand soap for the toilet . I had planned everything from A-Z for a birthday bash I had always dreamt of throwing FOR MYSELF.

I have always loved parties, no matter what the occasion was. At the age of 8 or 9, I was especially excited every time mum and dad allowed me to attend any of my friend’s birthday parties. Their parties were always fun and colorful because they had balloons and clowns and real ice-cream cakes and party packs with poppers and whistles. All my siblings and I had, was your typical birthday cake where dad would take out his guitar and we’d sing ‘Happy Birthday’ together and then dad would take the ‘birthday child’ to the jumble sale and with 50 pence as the budget, the birthday girl/boy chooses their own birthday present. Recalling back, I remember grazing by the second hand toys section every year, but was always ushered slowly to the musty smelling book corner. “Books last a lifetime girl,” was his remark.

When we came back to Malaysia, birthday parties was spent on a slightly bigger scale where relatives and friends of the family were invited. Still no clowns and ice-cream cake, but I was grateful and felt blessed nevertheless (and honestly, I was thankful because the clowns-for-rent back at my hometown were scary looking and not ‘child-friendly-looking’ AT ALL!)

Then highschool and university came and went by like a breeze. That was spent with close friends who would chip in to buy me a birthday cake where we would celebrate it together in the school canteen or after class. My parents did not throw me a ‘Sweet 16’ party, not because they couldn’t afford it – I was in Form 4 then, and had made that my ‘honeymoon’ year after scoring straight A’s in my PMR. Due to my inflated ego, I thought I was this smart ass chick who didn’t need to study hard for my first semester. I was wrong and dad made sure I knew this by ditching my chocolate birthday cake for months on curfew. Suffice to say, the following semester, I did much better.

Although I have the fondest memories of my birthday parties (ditto the year where I was being a complete ass), I did secretly yearn for a more elaborate do, so for my 30th year in existence, in my head, I had already planned my party to be the ‘Party of the Year’ as soon as I had sung my Auld Lang Syne. However, as the seventh month drew nearer, that vision was slowly diminishing.

I received news that my good friends were to get married to each other on my birthday – and I was chosen as one of the bridesmaid. Being your typical cancerian romantic, I jumped for joy knowing they were FINALLY tying the knot on MY day! When I told my husband and bestie about this, I was surprised to see that they were slightly disappointed. I had planted the ‘Party of the Year’ idea to them the day I envisioned it, so I guess my party dream and excitement rubbed on to them too. They told me to change the date a week later. I agreed, but by then, I was already too busy planning Sheah Nee’s hen party and the following parties I were to assist her with.

Two weeks before the wedding, a turn of events happened. Suddenly this social butterfly was not feeling too fluttery anymore. To make matters worst, my husband received news that he was to fly off to China for important business matters, and he was not sure when he could come back home. I was not sure if the wedding preparations were making me feel all sentimental, or was it the fact that reality hit me -I was to turn 30 in a few days time. I decided then that I didn’t want a big birthday bash. I just needed ‘ME’ time. I wanted to learn about myself. When I received an invitation to watch Wimbledon and possibly the finals of the UEFA Euro 2008 finals, I called my husband, got his blessing to leave and flew off. It must have been the right decision as friends I have not heard or seen for the past 10 years had suddenly found me on Facebook and guess what? They were living in London and Austria! With my blackberry and my Espana jersey close by, I left the vicinity of comfort to travel alone.

Going through the pictures on my little camera, I knew this was the best birthday present I had ever given to myself. And the little break away from the madness at home, did wonders to my soul and was certainly an eye-opener to many other things I needed to rediscover about life and my near future. Cliché as it sounds, I felt renewed and humbled. As I knelt down to pray at St Paul’s Cathedral during my London City tour, I asked God for pardon and thanked him for a healthy child and a wonderful bunch of friends and family.

There was one particular picture that I really like. I was eating ice-cream cake at Hyde Park and this clown comes and offers me a rose that he pulls out from underneath his sleeve. As I soaked up the rare London sun, enjoying my cake and blushing at this clown who appeared out of nowhere, I knew I was having the Party of the Year in my own accordance. Happy birthday Daphne. It’s time to play bridesmaid now.


  1. Greeting there

    It is nice to see that you are doing so well.

    I bet you would no remember me as I only met you once when I visited TV3 and you were having the flu. I was attached with Boulevard Hotel, Mid Valley at that time.

    Wishing you a blessed day and hope to hear from you too.