"Jacqueline Koh
Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting around for somebody to give you flowers"
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My thought on birthdays
Sunday, November 25, 2012 || 7:33 AM

Not too sure if you know, I didn't use to celebrate my birthday until I entered Poly, Year 1. Before that, my last birthday celebration was when I was in Primary 5. I recalled inviting some closer friends over to my house, and my maid cooked lots of unhealthy deep fried food while we went downstairs to play block catching. It was also during that party I bumped into the actor, Christopher Lee, whom wished me happy birthday because one of my friends yelled out 'Jing tian shi ta de shen re!!'

After that particular year, I abstained from birthday celebrations for 4 years. I didn't celebrate any of my friend's birthdays, and I didn't allow anybody to celebrate mine. Was there a reason behind it? Of course there was. And it's a very long story. Secondary school friends treated my reasoning and choice with respect, and I was never, once taunted at. It had got something to do with religion. A religion I got out from because I felt that I could never fit up to their standards. A religion I allowed myself to drift away from because I felt that I wanted and yearned something different in life. Fundamentals of your own being (set of morals, character, etc) is molded in between a certain age range when you are developing and I can say that even though I got out of the religion, the set of values are still held tight with me. Even though I can never reflect the best out of every single one.  
And this religion is also the reason till today, why I will never allow myself to wear crosses, or have sex before marriage. The only reason why I will step into a church is only because the sole reason of architectural purposes. Nothing more. 

And no, I wasn't a christian who attended churches. I was never a church go-er, but I can proudly say that I am probably more familiar with the bible than most regular attendees, and I probably adhere more to it as well. Some may find it hard to believe, but I have given small scale religious 'talks' before as well with the help of a mentor. Surprise surprise. Can't believe it right?

Fast forward a few years, I found myself drifting away - I started to love things which the bible abhor, I started to pick up habits which the bible tells us to stay away from, I started to engage in certain activities which the bible reminded us to abstain from. It was as if my rebellious streak came a few years too late. Maybe i was exploring, but maybe it isn't quite so simple. 

Many people might be very familiar with my live laugh love ink, or that curvy ink which stretches from shoulder to shoulder. But these two ink, albeit are words of advice which I hold close to my heart, can never hold a candle to the very first ink I got - which is a bird carrying the word 'faith'. And even though when I reasoned with myself faith encompasses many aspects of life, I know deep inside it was a religious faith I was thinking of when I had it inked on my body. 

Ink, as much as they are form of expressions, they are also reminders. 


Actually, my initial purpose of this blog post wasn't to highlight the above issue, but to share a different thought which has been in my head. So fast forward a couple of years, as I entered Poly, I had a different group of friends. It was also more 'convenient' to kill the previous 'tradition' as I didn't have to go through explanations of the sudden change of me going 'against the rules'. 

I started saying things like 'Happy Birthday', giving cards and presents and attended parties. At first, there was a nagging ache and my conscience was playing a tug-o-war. But it started to go away. Some friends whom I gave presents to, they reciprocated by giving me presents during my birthday, or invited me out for dinner. I know to you, it's something you go through all your life, but to me, it's still something relatively new. 

I have always thought that the birthday girl or boy is receiving far too much credit - i always thought that the person who should be at the receiving end should be the person who went through 9/10 months of labour, who went through the 'pushing a watermelon through a keyhole' process, who worked hard to bring that child up. I always thought birthdays would be so much more meaningful if it was celebrated that way. Which is why, on birthday cards, there is a sentence which I seem to repeat a little too much. 

But on the other hand, it's not that bad if birthdays are treated as a social event. It creates an opportunity to reconnect, to shower the protagonist with love. 

And for my 20th birthday, I would like to thank Yion, Rebecca, Joshua, Alicia and Hafiz, Jieying, Cheryl for the amaz-balls birthday cake, dinner and presents. I really don't care what I get, i'm a sucker for effort, and so, thank you guys for putting in your time and energy for me :) 

I hate to be typing in this way because i feel like im kinda segregating my friends (-.-), but thank you xq and jean for sharing my thoughts, and for understanding my take and view on such occasions. This is for us.
And for everybody else who took the time to wish me, in one form or another - thank you for taking out a few seconds/ minutes of your life. I appreciate them :)