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By January 05, 2014

My 4th birthday. What an annoying kid. 

I will always remember my fourth birthday. I felt like a princess with a new, frilly headband, a new dress and possibly my first flower. My aunt took me shopping and bought me a birthday present (she was recovering from a mastectomy, I think). My mum took me to the bakery and got me the most beautiful cake. We were a crowd in the little HDB flat in Singapore, but I felt like a million dollars. 

It all seemed like yesterday. 

Today, I turn 25. During my years on earth, I have learned from my father and recently, the Dalai Lama, that birthday is a time for reflection. It is a time to be grateful for those who are with us, think about those who cannot be with us, and reflect on our actions. Above all, we should be especially grateful to our mother who took a trip to hell and back to bring us into this world. We came to this world as a vulnerable infant, incapable of surviving on our own. Our first benefactors are our parents: our mother who fed us and washed us; Our father who clothed us and put a shelter over our head. They are also our first role models from whom we imitate and form our character. 

So, for those things and more, I would like to thank my parents for not aborting me, not flushing me down the toilet, not selling me to kalang guni (rubbish collector), for not throwing me out of the house during those rebellious years. Mostly, I am grateful to my parents for being strict, but responsible and great parents. Thanks for sharing all the knowledge and wisdom and for indulging in my love for food (p.s. I really need the recipe for last night's ter ka chou - pork trotter and sweet vinegar and ginger stew. I am so hungry just thinking about it) 

To my siblings, Michelle and Nicholas, you guys were my first frenemies. I had a love/hate relationship with my sister, but I am glad we survived the "hate" part and now enjoy all the benefits that come with the special bond of sisterhood. Thanks for being my housemate in Melbourne and preventing me from walking into people and things, or being run down by cars and trams every time when we are out. Sorry for all the times I pinched you when we were kids :)

My cousins are my first friends. We have so many beautiful childhood memories together. While we might be miles apart, every time we meet it's as if those times apart melted away. Each and everyone of my cousins are funny and unique in their own way. Through the bond of blood, we are comfortable in sharing with each other some of the skeletons in the family's closet...and the things we are embarrassed to tell our friends about. The distance factor also means we are close enough to share with each other our secret and be assured that those secrets will not get to our parents. Unless you accidentally divulge the secret in my dad's presence, in that case, GG. My dad is the known King of Gossip in the family. 

To old friends and new, thank you for all the experiences and beautiful memories. Many "firsts" were had with you guys and I am so grateful for you guys for helping me out in one way or another, or just providing words of support when I need it the most. Thanks for Facebook "likes" when I am feeling insecure, the letters, emails, messages and phone calls. My life is richer with your presence.

For my teachers in school, thank you for nurturing my mind and assisted in moulding me into a functional human being. To think about it, we spend our most formative years in school. Without our teachers who throw us in different situation and letting us learn the concept of authority, we would all run wild or unable to function in society. Thanks for all the knowledge, but more than that, providing me with problem-solving and leadership skills. 

To my colleagues, thank you for making settling into a new environment easier. Workplace is a more complex version of school, where "classmates" are known as colleagues. We spend a large part of our day at work and it is so important to be able to enjoy what we do. So, I am very thankful to my colleagues who taught me all I needed to settle in my new workplace, for all the laughs, lunches, and for continuing to be supportive. 

Our heart is so big, yet so fragile. We give our heart to the people whom we are attracted to, but some stay and made our heart even bigger, some leave, breaking our heart. For every love and heartbreak, I grew and learn more on how to be a companion, the other half. This other half business is not easy, I tell you. It means having to compromise at times and accept each other's flaws, something that I never had to...because my parents did the compromising. But,  when it's done correctly, the companionship can be so rewarding. So, thank you to Steven for accompanying and tolerating me, flaws and all...and to all past loves, thank you for the laughter and tears. 

To those who harbour a dislike for me, thanks for that as well. Thanks for prying on my vulnerability and my compulsive need to be liked my everyone. But I have learned to understand that not everyone can get along. Maybe there is something wrong with you, maybe me. But I'm sure it's you. Nevertheless, you always keep me on my toes and make me work harder to make sure I am better than you in every way possible. So, you can go fuck yourself and put your head up your ass. Go suck a dick while you are at it too. 

Finally, thanks for reading up until this point. You guys are great! Thanks for making my past 24 years a blast. Hopefully I will continue to thrive in my 25th year on earth. 

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