My mother was born on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, or on a mid-autumn festival, which was what we had been told and we observed her birthday year after years. Birthdays in a family were no big deals when there was not much food on the table and the parents were scratching for a living, but occasions such as mid-autumn festival would hardly be missed, which is why we always remember her birthday, but not father’s or those of our siblings. Later on, we found out to our amazement that the three brothers were all born in the same year – which was something I discussed in my memoir and which many friends had found hilarious, but that’s another story.
My mother would have been 96 had she survived. Again, that’s another story. We had birthday parties every year at Mid-Autumn Festivals, sometimes at restaurants, but also at homes, including our home. We would take pictures, of siblings playing mahjong before dinner and I sometimes came across group photos with someone making faces and I could hardly recognize how young some of us were, me included. But these dinners were not always happy. Indeed, my mother would sometimes use the occasion to chastise all or some of us or to remind us that we were failing in our filial duties, but without being specific. I tried to bury the details and I became rather very good at that. As I get older, I prefer to remember the more pleasant details.
Su typed away a blog in between dinner courses and her blogs attracted some followings. The social media also reminded us what happened in the past today, including a Ladies Night two years ago and some eating and drinking occasions, confirming what Su was thinking that we normally had a crowd for Mid-Autumn Festival.
But tonight we were just by ourselves and eating began shortly after Su returned from the market around 5pm. I would spare you the culinary details, except to say that the food and drink were superb and I believe it would cost us more than an arm and a leg if we had what we had in any decent restaurant. The lobster sashimi alone would cost a fortune, not to mention the sake we had saved for the occasion for food pairing.
Su was searching on her phone for past events and memories inevitably popped up. She opened up some storage areas and found her well-kept paper lanterns which she presently hanged under the chandeliers and other space, which was great fun. I remarked that it won’t take a lot to make one happy.
We recall one Mid-Autumn Festival in particular when we had a crowd coming to Mei Foo for food and drink. We had so much to drink and some people arrived late and brought guests. By the time we went down to the Lai Chi Kok Park with the lanterns, the Park was about to close.
At about 10pm, Su suggested that we took a trip to the Park, which we did. There were so many people everywhere. I have no idea where these people came from, but they all appeared so happy. These people were of every ages, young and old, nearly all carrying fancy lanterns of all description, taking pictures and having a good time. Su took some pictures too. I recall a time about six months ago when I visited the Park in the evening before dusk and was amazed at the number of people there, and I figured that there would be over 5,000 in the Park. Tonight, the numbers would have quadrupled, at least.
I hope you all had a good evening; and I hope to talk to you again shortly.