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Reunion Dinner or ‘drama dinner’?

It is Chinese New Year eve today and tomorrow will be the year of the Goat or Sheep? Later in the day will be the much waited reunion dinner. As I was driving to work, I was listening to a local radio station which happened to have a discussion on what are the do(s) and don’t(s) during a family reunion or gathering. The guest of the radio program started off with something like this… “In a family there are always some misunderstandings here and there, quarrels and even not in talking terms… … but in the end family is still a family where there will always be love for one another no matters what…” I believe this program was for those heading back home for the reunion dinner where they will definitely bump into their family members, relatives, in-laws etc.

In fact I do agree that in a family, there are bound to be misunderstandings, quarrels, even back-stabbings not to mention ‘not in talking terms’ as mentioned by the radio guest earlier. But the last part where he said “family still a family…” yes! I agree, no matters what happened in the past whether is a slight or a few misunderstandings, quarrels or even ‘family war’, those family members are still your family, nothing can change that, they are all in your same blood line. However, for the “there will always be love for one another in the end no matters what…” I don’t think so. For some cases yes, but not all. I have come across own siblings, even father and son, mother and son or daughter etc. not in talking terms for whatever reasons till death! What’s more with relatives… Some even with legal proceedings against one another. Sound familiar? Haha…

Anyway, don’t get me wrong, I too come across families, I mean loving close knit families with close ties with their relatives, cousins, in-laws and if you are one of those, congratulations! And please keep it going this way. Treasure it, it’s a blessing! I too wish that mine will be always like that!

Frankly, honestly speaking, how many of us do have such loving close knit family? Not only with your immediate, but with your relatives as well. How close are you and your family with your relatives and care for one another? You know those loving families we saw on TV or movies… Ever experience dragging yourself to a family gathering? Don’t talk about the annual reunion dinner yet. How often do you sigh…? “Oh no, another of those drama stuffs… need to prepare some strategies… preparing a list of what to say and what not to say…” Again, familiar yeah… Even if you are seriously inconvenient to attend that gathering or have another important matter to attend to on that same day, you may cancel those appointments to accommodate that so called family gathering. Otherwise there will be a guilty feeling. Something like…”better go or attend the family gathering, just show our face otherwise they will talk or worse have some unfavorable undesirable thoughts about us…” Family gathering hha, to maintain the close knit relationship aah…  If the families together with the relatives are in a damn good relation, loving and no ‘hide and seek’, what’s need to prepare, what strategies…? Right?

So come to the reunion dinner…, looking forward to it? A time to celebrate, can’t wait to meet up all your siblings, cousins, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunties, grandpa, grandma, grand uncles, grand aunties, grandprix, grand prize, grand this grand that… Yes? Or sigh again, dragging and forcing yourself to attend, and hoping to end a little sooner, adding some dramas to spice things up… So which of these two scenarios resemble your reunion dinner or so called family gathering? I will let you decide because I can’t stick my nose in it.

But mine, I guess I would like to call it a day, probably after this evening, I will not attend another one comes next year. To me, a reunion dinner is for the family to get together for a meal as some of us may be away in other parts of the country , other part of the world pursuing their career, passions, studies whatever…  A meal in the home of the family’s head or mom and dad. Whatever food on the table doesn’t matter. It’s the moment to be together, catching up on one another, ‘speak or talk freely’ (excluding obscene or foul languages of course), nothing to hide, no strategies or allied or team A, team B. A happy pleasant get together while enjoying whatever food on the table. I missed those reunion dinners in my younger days especially as a kid where it was always at home with dishes cooked by mom and dad, or for you and others with bigger family in the same house, had dishes/food cooked by uncles, aunties, sisters, brothers as well.

Nowadays, there has been a trend of having the reunion dinner away from home, having it in a restaurant. I will accept it if it’s for once in a while or that particular year is not convenient to do it at home, but every year!? And it’s not cheap either. If one family is well to do or rich, go ahead… after all safe the hassle of thinking what to cook, what to prepare, cleaning and washing up. For my family, we had been having it out for the past few years straight except for year 2013. Each cost us RM800 – RM1000+++, and this evening will be RM1, 100.00+++ Do we really need those ‘four seasons’ stuffs? Do we need those shark fins, those suckling pigs etc.? Hey, we should be boycotting shark fins dishes! Not only those, ever notice there are round 1 and round 2? Round 1 will be 5.30pm and round 2, 8.30pm. So gone are the comfortable timing like 6.30pm, 7.00pm or 7.30pm, and not forgetting the noise of other diners. The restaurants are always be filled up to the main entrance door, full house! You probably will be rubbing shoulders with another diner from the next table. For those who are driving, there will be headache looking for parking spaces, then the problem of double parkings…  So the so called reunion dinner, will it be fun, pleasant, enjoyable…? It could still be fun if you are looking forward to meet up with your other family members and relatives. If yours is a so called loving close knit family like those we see on TV or movies, if you missed them so very much. I think it will still be fun – catching up on each other, sharing some light moments or jokes and lately taking ‘selfies’, adding each other into Facebook etc. But if you are from one of those not so close loving family, with not so pleasant and friendly relatives where you sigh and drag yourself to the dinner and hoping that it will be over soon… God Bless You!

My point here is, if we do not feel the loving, pleasant and comfortable atmosphere of such reunions or gatherings, why bother to attend? It’s better not to show up than showing up with nobody notice you! Why show up and force yourself to say…”hey hi… how are you… etc.” If don’t say anything, will begin to feel conscious of what the rest will think of us. So again the dramas start… no need lah… stay at home lah or escape somewhere and enjoy yourself…  If you are adventurous or outdoor type, go camping somewhere, better to drama and say hi to the monkeys, at least they will repay you by entertaining you or keeping you on guard! Go to a beach resort if you love the sand and sea etc. Got it!?

I think for me next year, I will take a break on this reunion stuff. My family not to say bad, not to the extend of not talking to each other for a long period of time, we do have some misunderstandings here and there, BUT definitely not the close loving type which I found out lately and have to accept this fact! I could sense that everyone is not looking forward for a get together and if does happen, there will be lots of dramas, being cautious… So I guess it’s better for us to take a break starting from next year. Those who feel like continue the trend go ahead but exclude me. I hope and wish we will make the most of it this evening in our reunion dinner. Hope it could change my mind but even if it is another ‘drama dinner’ again, doesn’t matter for one last time.

So Gong Xi Fa Chai, have a Happy and Prosperous New Year! Aah… enjoy your reunion dinner, at least enjoy the food…


Updated: February 18, 2015 — 14:18

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  1. Michael is also at this dinner party, but leaves as soon as the food arrives because he s tired and doesn t drink anyway so, in the words of Sharon, What is even the point?

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