More on Birthday Parties

Su told me on seeing my last upload that, for the record, she had actually made the first booking with Amigo on 2nd January and that she had also booked other venues too. Lest I forget, let me continue with my recollection of recent parties, which incidentally, were all attended by Su.

I hosted an earlier one for a group of Masonic brethren with whom I have a standing lunch every month. I offered to host this one to celebrate my birthday, but because a few of them couldn’t make it, I asked Su to come along to make up the numbers. There was plenty of food pre-ordered by a food connoisseur from Beijing, as people including myself brought wine, mainly whiskeys, the result of which was that we had to take home left over food and wine; and the food became or staples for the next few days. But even as the lunch was proceeding, plans were aloft for another lunch to take place on my real birthday, which would be much later in April, to take place at a venue which had fast become Su’s favourite private kitchen; and Su wasted no time to book the venue before the lunch finished. Such is the consummate seriousness and devotion we now have for good food, clean fun and lasting fellowship; and long may it last!

The next party, also a lunch was organized, rather unexpectedly, by Su’s sister whose job requires her to travel extensively so that the sisters don’t meet that often. She asked innocently whether we could meet for lunch with the parents and siblings at a Michelin starred seafood restaurant in Sai Kung; and we skipped another standing lunch to get there from Mei Foo by public transport, which was quite a feat, switching MTR lines twice before getting on a bus followed by walking the last ten minutes. But it was worth the hassle: the food was good, as was the wine and birthday cake.

Two days later, on a Public Holiday, we were invited to dinner at another Michelin starred restaurant in Tai Koo Shing featuring Italian cuisine, this time by a young lady young enough to be my daughter. Her friends had planned a birthday dinner for me around mid-April, but she couldn’t make the date, so she wanted to do a solo with us because she had not met this uncle for some while. It was a fabulous dinner: we shared a one-kilo T-bone steak, had two bottles of Chianti, some side dishes and of course a specially ordered birthday cake. The thought of whether I would have liked her to be actually my daughter crept up, but that won’t help the big picture or for that matter, anything.

Another two days passed and a very good friend, who would have liked to have been in any of the parties mentioned, happened to be in town. I suggested a meeting and he accepted without reservation and asked to meet me at dinner. I was expecting a dinner between three friends, and when I asked whether Su could join us, he said he would book a table for four. We arrived, a few minutes late, as would have happened when one cannot be in full control of one’s schedule, and lo and behold, we found that we were among some very good friends and we began to eat and drink to our hearts’ delight during which they toasted to my birthday and whatever and volunteered to organize a proper birthday party for me, whatever it means. That could be the subject of another upload. It was a very enjoyable evening during which I ran into some other friends and acquaintances, as would happen when one dines in a public place.

Then without formal notice, my ID card birthday arrived this morning. I got up early to scribble a piece of my mind which I uploaded, had a break, and went to my lunch meeting with this group with whom I had associated more than half a century ago. Somehow, they are all a few years my senior; and that’s no fault on either side. I have always been a protected species in their eyes; and I sort of cherish that status. I don’t think they remember my birthday, but I told one of them beforehand; while Su brought a birthday cake for the effect. We took many pictures and went over the same rigmarole of how we came to know each other and what happened in between as if we were going through our encounters for the first time. Later in the year, we are to commemorate the 55th anniversary of our graduation from high school; and we have been planning for this shortly after the 50th anniversary, and why not.

We returned home after lunch, had a rest and were planning to have a quiet evening, we having to catch a morning flight to Phuket for a few days organized by Su. Somehow, we went out for dinner in Su’s favourite Japanese restaurant in the vicinity. We had a bottle of our favourite Saki and the usual goodies and as we walked home, I wondered what it takes to be happy and be thankful other than to fill oneself with good food and wine and be in good company. My conclusion is that every day is a good day for a birthday party. I looked at what Bill Gates had told Times about his favourite book by Hans Rosling, the Swedish physician and statistician whom he met and became friends after he saw him on Ted Turner’s TV programme, but who died in February 2017 before his book was published recently. The book is titled Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong about the World – and why things are better than you think. I agree a lot of Gates and Rosling’s sentiments and I say that the world is a much better place than what most people say it is or are perceiving it to be, as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is going on.

As I have said, we are going away for a few days to cool off in Phuket; and I hope to talk to you again when I come back.

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