Thursday, January 3, 2008

Christmas overload

This past festive season was as much hectic as it was merry, which is probably in sync with the rapid and giddy growth that is driving Singapore of late. The 10 days all went by in a blur, with little time for reflection.

Christmas Eve dinner: A turkey the size of Australia, a leg of ham of comparable modesty, another (a tad smaller) roll of ham, 12 mince pies, a fruit cake, a log cake, a couple of chocolate Santas and some other dessert stuff – all for the 5 of us... Yes, you read that right – FIVE.

We had a salad, though…

… washed down with some champagne.

Breakfast: The next morning saw us mark another recent family tradition – breakfast cooked by B, who served us a sausage casserole (with ciabatta, cheese and eggs) with a side of grits (made with two cheeses), accompanied by Peet’s Major Dickason’s Blend, a nostalgic reminder of Berkeley, California. We held off on the salad this time – that would have been a touch too excessive, don’t you think?

Two years ago, B attempted a Christmas morn breakfast, but she short-circuited the oven, and when she put the hot glass casserole pan onto a cool surface, it cracked, and glass pieces got mixed in with the food. She cried. I went out and bought mee pok, instead.

Gifts: This year, without a proper Christmas tree, we placed the presents...

… under the television set, which seemed somehow appropriate.

We caught up with different parts of our extended family through six separate gut-expanding lunches/teas/dinners. We also met friends here and there, including a Boxing Day party thrown in a futile attempt to make a dent on the turkey/ham/cakes leftovers – friends just brought along more chocolate cakes.

In between all that were endless rounds of Christmas shopping amidst listening to taxi drivers complain endlessly about how it took 45 minutes to negotiate the gridlock when attempting to drive from the taxi stand of one Orchard Road mall to another, merely half a kilometer away.

One meal offered a respite from the feeding frenzy… a leisurely dinner, at Mushroom Park, consisting mainly of mushrooms, vegetables and tofu cooked in a light herbal broth.

What was missing throughout it all was any meaningful contemplation and appreciation for the reason why Christians celebrate Christmas in the first place – to mark the moment God became man so as to bridge that unbridgeable gap between them; to mark, in effect, the birth of the faith. For this oversight, it would be easy for us to blame capitalism, or society, or consumerism, or even the Singapore Tourism Board. But the fault was all mine and J’s, I fear; all a matter of wilful, personal choice.

So, here’s to next Christmas, then.


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