I love birthdays.

Coming from a below-average income family, birthdays were a luxury to the Tai sisters.

Now this isn’t intended as a sob story, but I’ll have you know that because they had to work, my parents were rarely there to celebrate our special days with my sis and I. But my aunt from my dad’s side, our Ku Ma, made the most of it for us.

Every year, it would be the same. We would get into our new birthday clothes (and sometimes not), and take a trip to the Kentucky Fried Chicken in town by the cinema strip. We would order our ORIGINAL fried chicken. Be served ’em (remember when KFC was not self-serviced?) in those pristine white plastic plates and stainless steelware. We would sip our Fanta Strawberries or Sarsis. And we would be the happiest little girls in the world because we got to eat delicious fried chicken, that one guaranteed time a year.

No exchanges. No refunds.

It was an awesome feeling then, and it’s an awesome feeling now. I still feel the same old delight each morning of my birthday as I wake up with the anticipation of something as great as Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The KFC tradition continued until I went to college. Some years, I would go have some (I was living in Kuala Lumpur then, so KFC was everywhere, although McDonald’s was the dominant franchise), and I’d visit the one in State, Petaling Jaya, because it still served chicken with the plastic plate and proper stainless steel cutlery, and if I’m not mistaken, still does so to this very day. 

When I met my husband, my birthdays became more than special. He came from a famiy where special occasions were a cause for balloons and presents and parties, so every year, I would receive three handcrafted bouquets of flowers at my place of work. It was both flattering and mortifying because there were just too many women in my office to appreciate this gesture in a polite manner. Still, it became a tradition. For a good four or five years, we did that, and we had surprise dinner parties and drinks and all the good stuff that went into adult birthday get-togethers.

Until we got married, that is, hehe. And to be honest, it is a relief because you know what? All I ever want for my birthday, is KFC Original fried chicken.

Yesterday, I wanted to make Bak Kut Teh, a popular Malaysian Chinese meal (that has another story but will tell it another day), but laziness kicked in and we decided to eat out at a Hong Kong bakery/deli we loved down by 148th. This was where I brought Raeven for her fourth birthday, just a quiet lunch between mother and daughter because daddy was travelling and Skyler was in a daycare so we could celebrate properly. Well, as properly as I could manage.

It was Raeven’s first birthday without a big party because I’d wanted her to learn that celebrations could be about time spent with people who love her, in the company of great food, with or without presents. And you know what? She didn’t care. All she cared about was that she got a special day, like, literally for being born, and that meant the world to her. Of course, I’d later gotten her Tinkerbell princess dress and some cake for a small candle-blowing ceremony at home.

Yesterday, we had my favourite noodles and fried rice and some awesome hot garlic pork chops. And no cake because I honestly don’t really eat cake except for a certain kind, no matter how eager I might’ve been to attend a cake party. Completely broke my diet, but it was worth it.

And it was almost as great as KFC.

Thanks Karls and Tracey, for my thoughtful birthday gifts. I definitely will use them. You girls are the best 😉

Thanks you guys for all the birthday wishes here.

Thanks baby, for the surprise blog entry (which I’m sure is the first ever complete violation of privacy birthday gift!). Anything for a surprise, right? You still got it!