Sunday, January 25, 2004

The inaugural Chinese New Year sangria party made its return last night. After last year's success, people who weren't in Singapore were clamouring for me to hold another one so that they could see what they missed. Who was I to deny them?

There were about a dozen guests expected. With such a challenge, my parents were in their element. My mum, whipping up the tapas, and my dad, concocting an augmented version of sangria, adapted from this recipe (courtesy of Paella Pans), involving two cups of rum as opposed to two tablespoons' worth, and a lot more red wine than the recipe called for.

It was a good party. In spite of the pouring rain which lasted the whole entire day, people still turned up, and we almost finished all of the appetizers. Those of you who know just how much my mum makes - enough to feed all of us for dinner instead of the snack-size portions that I had asked her to make - would be impressed by our valiant efforts.

We also managed to finish all but half a pitcher's worth of the pièce de résistance - the sangria - equally impressive, if you had seen the large pot we started out with. And let me tell you, the sangria was strong. Two glasses of it and I was almost gone for the night, not least because my resistance to wine isn't as good as my resistance to normal hard liquor.

The night started out with my screening Kissing Jessica Stein, otherwise referred to by everyone else as the "lesbian show", thereby whetting many a hot-blooded male's appetite for lust. Once the volume problem was overcome (by putting on the subtitles, providing many a hilarious moment because of text such as lyrics to songs, and "sound of dialling" and "both chuckle"), the show was generally well-received by people who had managed to follow it from beginning to end.

There were other highlights like when we found out two of our guys had been learning to salsa, and we asked them to demonstrate, with one going, "I don't mind as long as I do the guy part." A friend familiar with my love of dance asked me to demonstrate with that guy but I, fresh from the movie, said, "No, if you guys like girl-on-girl action, then I have every right to insist that you two do it - guy-on-guy." (Yes, very like American Pie 2, but you have to understand we were all a bit high by then.)

One of my friends present, who works with one of the local papers which also operates a TV station, turned out to be appearing on the news that night, reporting on a local event. The movie ended just as the news was scheduled to begin, so I hurriedly turned the DVD off, and scrambled to find the correct channel, telling that same friend that he should be honoured that he's responsible for one of the few times that Mandarin was to be permitted in my house. So there we were, all of us from the same university, from the same year, all watching him report and later on applauding him for a job well done. It was a nice moment.

And what CNY party would be complete without any gambling? The guys settled down for a round of Blackjack (or ban-lat in Hokkien), with a particularly dramatic friend exclaiming in despair, "Alamak! Ban-lat's brother" (the ace without the picture card) or "Ban-lat's sister" (the picture card without the ace) before admitting that he was making everything up. As I was dealing for five rounds in which my friend end up making a lot of money, that same friend offered me some tips. Heh. I refused, of course.

It was great seeing all my uni friends again. It's amazing how I never really hung out with them in uni on account of the different courses I was taking, but I'm really glad that we've all become closer since our return.

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