Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Last Christmas

With the entire family spending Christmas over there, how could we possibly not call up the cousins?Specifically the Thai ones - the various children from my late uncle's unlikely trio of warring stepwives. No doubt the last time they actually shared a decent meal together on one communal table was during their departed patriarch's funeral. Or maybe after when they battled passionately over the meagre estate left behind.

But Christmas is a time for family after all. Knowing that it would please my mother very much, I embarked on this intrepid mission months before, knowing fully well that certain components would surely irk me to no end.

First step was obviously making contact with the eldest of the lot, the Samaritan, which I did dutifully more than a month before we arrived.

Paul : Hey, we're coming over for Christmas. 
Samaritan : That's great!  
Paul : We'll be staying in town for a week. All of us. 
Samaritan : Weather's nice. 
Paul : Are you going to invite us for dinner or do I have to? 
Samaritan : Sure, let's meet for dinner. 
Paul : Call up the rest of your siblings. 
Samaritan : The rest? 
Paul : All of them, even the half sibs. 

Gotta say the Samaritan never fails to disappoint me. Perhaps if he ever initiates an invitation to dinner of his own volition, I might possibly faint from shock. Don't know about the rest of you but as the dedicated host - wherever I am - I would usually take that first step, not only in arranging any coming dinners but also to ensure everything goes smoothly right up to the discreet bill reimbursement at the end. Playing host is something I do almost without thinking.

The Samaritan? We're the same age and he has never ever picked up the check. Ever. Don't be fooled into thinking that he's pathetically destitute having to beg for spare change on the grimy streets of Bangkok, the man earns quite a decent living. Then again, he hardly offered a miserable penny to cover his father's funeral expense so I doubt even the vaunted Christmas miracle could change that.

Well guess who I left out on the Christmas list. 

But hey, there's always second - third - and fourth chances. He might change? Season of giving after all.

Since the Samaritan lives there, I figured he would know best where to dine like a king in the food paradise that's Bangkok but he hemmed and hawwed without giving any proper reply. Moment the Samaritan deferred from picking the restaurant, I already figured out who would be footing the bill. Bah, humbug.

Paul : Guess who is buying us dinner!
Brother : Not the Samaritan of course. 
Paul : Guessed it right. 
Brother : Merry Christmas to us then. 
Calvin : So who's paying?
Paul : Obviously my brother and me. 

The season of giving. Though I would find it hard to offer much forgiveness.

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