Wah lau I tell you, yesterday I tried to post this entry and my STUPID INTERNET CONNECTION DIED before I could post the whole thing. I lost ALL my Facebook picture tags and comments along with the entry and the lost Internet connection. Lucky I saved it man.
Okay, the nonsensical mish-mash of Singlish and English ain't working so I'll stick to the language I know best. Which is English, of course.
The entry, reproduced.
For the benefit of those who do not have Facebook and read my blog, here's my thank-you note which I took about ten trillion years to write:
If I were to be completely honest, I would admit that I had no idea what the hell I was talking about last night when I was under pressure to give the customary birthday speech after candles have been blown and variations of the traditional birthday song have been sung. I'm not a talking person; I've never been a talking person. I hate being in the centre of attention because it makes my mind go completely blank and I end up opening my mouth and saying really inane, mediocre, and repetitive things. More importantly? I end up not saying what I want to say. Short of writing everything down on a piece of paper and reciting it all word for word, I can never get it right if I have to talk.
(Aside: It is truly amazing that I'm in law school.)
Therefore, I write this note now to make up for what I failed to convey last night. It is obviously very after the fact and thus rather anti-climatic, but it's better than nothing, no?
Some of you may know that I hate my own birthday. Ever since having the worst birthday ever when I turned 14, I've come to face all my birthdays with a dreadful heart. My chain of horrible birthdays broke on my 18th birthday, when my best friends Mel and Peixuan threw me a surprise celebration in school. 'Shock and awe' pretty much sums up how I felt, and there is nothing more sweetly and touchingly embarrassing than having your friends and classmates sing you the customary birthday song in the middle of the classrooms block. To top it all off, Mel and Pei braved heavy rain and raging wind the day before to get me a Lana chocolate cake for the occasion.
These are some of the things you'll never forget, memories from the years that have gone by that you think upon every now and then with a smile on your face. There is something worth remembering because of the people that made it happen for you, who cared enough to make your birthday special and memorable. So that was turning 18, and that was my last year in Jurong Junior (my Jurong friends should know why I call it Jurong Junior - HAHA), and it was also one of the best years of my life.
Fast-forward to 2007. When you turned 18 you thought it was a milestone in itself. It seemed big, turning 18 - end of JC, A Level year, legally able to drink, legally able to drive, less of a teenager, and...more of an adult? Not really, I don't think.
Initially, when my friends were turning 21 left and right around me I thought that I wouldn't bother doing anything for mine. It seemed weird to have all your friends gather in one place, friends who didn't all know each other, while you flit from table to table attempting to make sure everyone was included. It seemed tedious, impersonal, expensive; it didn't seem like a big deal, the whole 21 thing. The cynical and dominant side of me didn't want to care, because it was still a birthday and I still dreaded my birthday (I think this is something that will never, ever change) and I couldn't stand the thought of being in the centre of attention, throwing a party for myself.
Like most of the decisions I make, the decision to have a celebration was made randomly and on a whim. I woke up one day and decided that I wanted one, because turning 21 was the only reason I'd ever entertain to consider throwing myself a party. So, yes, last night was the first and last time I'd ever celebrate my birthday, because while turning 18 made you less of a teenager, turning 21 made you an adult. Whether you like it or not, whether you're ready or not, whether you want it or not. It's here, right now, staring you in the face; you can choose to run from it and pretend it doesn't exist and that it's not happening, or you can choose to embrace it and celebrate it.
So, I guess it wasn't that much of a random thing after all. I chose the celebrate option. And the result?
Honestly, I wasn't processing half of the things that were going on last night. The whole thing was a blur: Running around escorting people into the dining area, taking pictures, making conversation, telling people to eat while I stood around and barely ate anything, getting irritated with the staff and some other people because getting irritated is what I do best, wanting to pass out towards the end of the night because my stomach was half-empty, and of course, getting a mild foot cramp. Fun, isn't it? How overwhelming, really, having so many people in one place because of me. I wasn't used to it. And I still haven't processed everything.
To be perfectly honest, the part where I was all touched and on the verge of tears came at 4 a.m. when I sat in my room and started unwrapping my presents, reading cards, and messages that I made my guests write in my guestbook. The effort that everyone put into getting me something, be it something from my wish list (which contained a grand total of four real items; the rest was rubbish like a hot boyfriend or air tickets to London or whatever), something unique that addressed a very vital part of who I am, something random, something pretty, truly blew my mind, as did the thoughtful messages that people penned for me. I did a lot of thinking after I looked through everything - thinking that severely hurt my brain because it was nearly 7 in the morning. Suffice it to say that I still have a hell lot of a long way to go before I become the person that I want myself to be. But this is boring self-reflective crap that's, well, boring, so I'll save it for...never.
My parents won't read this but major thanks to them for putting aside the pain they felt from the huge hole this 21st birthday has burnt in their pockets and making it all happen. I am not the easiest person to live with; my mood swings are insane and frequent, I am hopeless at expressing how I feel, and I'm not always fair to them; but they are still the most important people in my life, the two people whom I would place before everyone else - including myself.
Mag for being there during the planning process. I am a completely HOPELESS planner and it was my first time doing something like this. If you hadn't told me to book everyone way in advance, I certainly wouldn't have done so. Thanks for all your suggestions regarding venue and food, for listening to me whine and bitch about how annoying the whole thing was, for putting up with my indecisiveness and whatever else, and simply, for being the great, great friend that you are. I'll save the rest of the heartfelt mushy stuff for your birthday card. :D
Rui for making it back in time for my birthday; for offering to help; for being my designated photographer; for lugging that huge tripod to the restaurant and then to No. 5 despite feeling sick. Especially for going to No. 5 post-dinner despite feeling sick. That's exactly what you do: put the people you care about before yourself. I'm really, REALLY glad you were there. It wouldn't have been the same without you. And I'm really glad you took photos too because ALL MY PHOTOS ARE RED-EYED. Sigh.
The Bitch Club + Justin for the wonderful, wonderful bag of lovely surprises. I couldn't bear to untie the ribbon because it was so pretty! Trust Angela to pull that off. I totally love the journal; it shows how well you guys know me. :) Thanks Simon and Justin for that laminated collage thing. As I told Simon, that picture of Queen Elizabeth is DAMN SCARY! I had a mighty good laugh over it. Thanks, too, for going to No. 5 post-drinks and I'm SO SORRY I was there so late. I honestly thought I'd make it there by 10.30 or 11 latest so that we could all sit down and chill, but I ended up being as late as I was. Sorry for making you guys (barring Baoyue) go all the way down for nothing. We'll make it up someday!
Tingren, Yuenmei and Baoyue for having drinks with me and tolerating my embarrassing half-drunkenness. I'm sure all that high-pitched giggling must have been extremely grating to the ears. I had a really good time last night and I was glad I spent the first few hours of being 21 with you guys. August 1 is SO on. Right, Tingren? Ha, ha, ha.
Pei and Khai for being there, Pei for the gorgeous pink Warehouse wallet which will definitely be put to good use, and Khai for the picture book and for being there. Especially for being there. It meant a lot to me that you were there, you know. And Pei - I LOVE THE COLOURFUL BAG YOU BOUGHT! It's so so so pretty, just like you! :) Pitch Black is SO on, too.
Okay, I've just spent an hour writing this and it's 15 minutes to Ugly Betty so I'm gonna rush through this a little.
The SN Gang for getting me TWO scents! They will definitely be put to very, very good use, obviously. Thanks Yun for your lovely card and Shuting for your sweet, sweet personalised gift. I totally love it. And thanks all for being there. See you at Celine's 21st on Friday!
Tingren, Yuenmei and Wenhui for the SUPER SUPER SUPER AMAZING PRESENT. Enough said.
The Law people for being the loudest group there, showing up in full force and everything. Talk about adding life to the party! Thanks to those who chipped in for my Christian Dior Dior Addict 2 perfume, the heavenliness of which I haven't adequate words to describe. Thanks to Tris for the thoughtful card, the pretty flower and for being early, even earlier than me, SMSing me when I was still stuck in the crappy traffic jam. Thanks to Audrey for the gorgeous necklace - you needn't have fretted over it! The problem is, I have no idea how to wear it so you have to show me someday, at Brewerkz perhaps. Thanks to Lavan for the lovely bouquet of flowers and I'm totally honoured that mine was the first 21st birthday party you attended this year! Thanks to Kyle for the Body Shop vouchers - now I can buy even more lip balm! Bwahaha. Or maybe I'll get that strawberry scrub thing everyone's raving about. Thanks to Jackie and King Man, fellow KW interns, for being there and for the shopping vouchers. LEGITIMATE REASON TO SHOP! Totally awesome. And you two have the honour of being in a photo with me alone! Haha. Thanks for making my internship at KW more fun than I'd expected. I'm glad I got to know the two of you.
Paragraph getting too long so thanks also to Khel and Pet for the shopping vouchers, Agatha and Siming, my LAWR binder mates, for the AMAZINGLY yummy chocolates. ARGH HOW FATTENING. But damn nice! I can spend a bomb on chocolates for someone else, but I can't ever spend it on myself. So I'm glad you guys spent on me. HAHAHA. Thanks for getting me an A- for our binder. Totally pulled up my LAWR grade man! Thanks Andre for the novel and for the obvious effort in wrapping it. For your information, because you spent so much time and wasted as many pieces of paper as you did wrapping it, it's the only present that hasn't been unwrapped because I can't bring myself to unwrap it. And I only know what it is because you wrote it in your card. Thanks also for your suggestions when I was attempting to plan the whole thing! Thanks to Venetia for taking over the phototaking and for eating my birthday cake despite her sore throat! Thanks Kel for your alternately hilarious and thoughtful message and for being Rui's boyfriend, haha.
Thanks to Lawrence for postponing your Hong Kong trip just for my birthday and for your pretty candles. Will definitely light when vexed. :)
Thanks all for signing my guestbook and for celebrating my 21st with me. It's been lovely. Here's to more birthday celebrations and everything else ahead.
PS. I know this is long. I'm verbose like that.
PPS. No, I do not like durians. I, in fact, hate durians with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. It just so happened that they were having that yucky durian promotion.
About the title - read Julian Barnes' Metroland to find out why Part Two, Paris. Haa.