Baby You’re A Firework
Whenever M5 celebrates her birthday, the nation lights fireworks. Born on National Day, she has spent memorable birthdays in Singapore. But this year, she requested that we spend the long weekend up in Kuala Lumpur. Since the family has an apartment and we all have good friends there, nobody needed persuading.
That morning, M5 woke bright & early to organize her birthday brunch. After celebrating at home with all her siblings, she flew to Kuala Lumpur with M2 and me. While I was sorry we couldn’t all fly up this time, I was looking forward to quality time with M2 & M5, both born in the Year of the Dragon albeit 12 years apart. The Scoot flight was easy and inside an hour, we were in Kuala Lumpur, ready for birthday dinner.
What We Did In Kuala Lumpur
It’s probably accurate to say that our celebratory plans revolved around what we wanted to eat. Craving for authentic banana leaf rice, I enjoyed lunch at Vishalatchi Food Catering. The boss showed extraordinary kindness towards M5 when she accidentally spilt her soda.
To make up for being harsh over the aforementioned soda incident, I suggested chocolate cake, the balm for most hurt feelings. Emil took us to VCR Bangsar, a hip café popular with instagrammers for its pretty food and good coffee. I’m glad to add that it has pretty good chocolate cake too!
Without a doubt, the prettiest restaurant we celebrated in was Shanghai Restaurant at JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur. M5 was awed by the magnificent lounge (frankly so was I) and was delighted to find a feature on it in a magazine on the coffeetable. I loved the small details like the gorgeous gramophone at the bar. More importantly, the food was delicious. I enjoyed the tonic soup while M5 loved the xiaolongbao.
Before our trip, M5 had been pretty stressed in Kindergarten over some spelling quizzes. This was so, despite her teacher and me telling her she had no need to be. So this birthday weekend, we arranged for M5 to spend a couple of nights at an extended playdate with her dear penpal whom she had met on holiday last year. My Treasured Memories of Pangkor Laut Resort with M5 include the two girls laughing on the beach, splashing in the emerald waters. When we collected M5 from her gracious hosts over Sunday dimsum brunch at The Ming Room in Bangsar, she was in high spirits. She even shared her gorgeous Wondermilk cupcakes (https://ilovewondermilk.com) with the other diners.
Later that evening, we went to the Royal Selangor Polo Club for the biggest tournament of the year. As the grown-ups enjoyed the tournament and Argentinian barbeque after-party, M2 & M5 played with their peers. M2 played cards while M5 scampered about the field with other young children.
While M5 was away on her playdate, we were able to devote some time to M2. Like her little sister, she was also a little anxious as her A Level results were going to be announced soon. I felt confident she would do well, and even more confident she would cope well either way. I didn’t want to smother her with unwanted overtures of love and lectures on life, so we just hung out. We enjoyed deeply therapeutic massages, did some shopping and went to a party at Nobu over by the Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Whenever possible, Emil would join us. And whenever Emil joined us, I would overeat, a typical example being our sumptuous prawn noodle dinner at Soo Kee’s Son (Meng Chuan).
No Place Like Home
M5’s birthday party in Kuala Lumpur felt like one continuous buffet. But it was a memorable for more reasons that that. Neither of the girls’ stressors could be completely resolved by the time we left Kuala Lumpur. Regardless, things were better. For one, M5 had some perspective on what I valued: her happiness and a well rounded education that included lots of playtime. And with that, she said she would put in more effort so that when she did study, it would be effective. This would leave plenty of time for everything else. As for M2, she got some rest, hung out with her friends, spent quality time with her father and her sister. I was grateful to have M2 on the trip. In a fortnight she would be in university and life would never be the same again.
Regardless of how wonderful Kuala Lumpur was, it was a good time to return home. And when we were greeted by M6 upon our arrival, I was certain that there was no place like home.