My siblings and I made a date with our mother quite early this year when we know of her lunar new year birthday. As the eldest I asked that we all meet up on August 12 in our home town to celebrate mother's 87th birthday. It is intentionally planned to be a smaller do unlike last year's when friends from my mother's church and her pastor were invited. Except my brother from the States the rest were all present.
To older people they either fear or dislike to be reminded about their birthdays. My father-in-law who turned 94 last month is one of them but I'm sure my mother doesn't. She consider her birthday as a chance to see all or most of her children and grandchildren, and great grandchildren if possible. She consider herself very blessed to have to date 10 (correction: 11) great grandchildren.
The dinner was held at the Hotel Restoran Bei King at Taman Desa Selamat, Jalan Kampong Selamat, 32000 Sitiawan. Tel: 05-691 0253. There is no GPS coordinates available. For those interested, if you drive from Simpang Ampat to Kampong Koh, take the left junction between the Alliance Bank and Nissan Showroom. Take that road and drive a kilometer. The restoran is on the left. If you come from Air Tawar, take the left junction to Simpang Lima/Pekan Gurney. After Simpang Dua, at the traffic junction, drive straight. The restoran will be to your right.
We had only 3 tables with 30 guests invited. The menu was booked by my uncle and it cost RM450 per table. There was no service tax or tips which I'm sure all diners welcome. We don't even know how many courses nor the menu which was customized by the chef. I make sure I capture every single dish on camera and here they are, in total 8 dishes including the desserts. Food quality is rated 4-4.5 out of 5 but service is rather poor. For a restoran that is quite well known even to outsiders this is disappointing but if you can bear with some inconvenience and go for the food this place is worth meeting up for food and conversation. It seems the banquet hall can take up easily 100 tables which is great for big parties like fund raising or political gatherings.
The weekend is eventful for other reasons. On the positive note my wife and I got to meet with our dear friend PL and wife M from Air Tawar. Upon arrival in Sitiawan we had lunch with them and family in Restoran Ing Hua at 156, Taman Seri Indah, 32400 Air Tawar. Tel: 05-672 3252. PL ordered 5 dishes for a party of 5 adults and a kid and they are all famous Foochow dishes which we enjoyed thoroughly. Later we adjourned to their home for chat and tea and it was with great pride that PL showed me his improved sound room and allowed me to listen to remastered popular songs and watch HD concert movies. All too soon we had to take our leave and look forward to more of such quality senior moments among friends. It was our good fortune too that another old classmate, YCK, came back from Singapore and he joined our afternoon fellowship.
Another surprise development was the sudden resignation of mother's caregiver which although troublesome is actually, on hindsight, a God given opportunity for the family to spring clean and look for a better solution. The reason for the sudden resignation was her refusal to do minimal housework like sweeping and mopping. The house was totally unsanitary with dusty and oily floors and hairballs and cobwebs all over. But the tipping point was discovering a young lady, supposedly the caregiver's granddaughter, living in one of the rooms for several days. It is unimaginable that a caregiver would usurp the employer's room for her selfish use without permission, using the air-conditioning and bathroom, all without paying a single sen. To the family it was good riddance. Mother was quietly relieved but worry over companionship at night. A solution is being sought and the church is coming forward to give her support.