57 | Take Me Home

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I’ve been really occupied for the last week what with all the packing for the Kuantan trip and all – but I don’t regret it one bit. Now that I’m back in Singapore feeling more relaxed than ever, I’m ready to take on the world. Sometimes I just need short getaways like this to get refreshed and kick myself back in action!

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After a late night at a youth policy discussion, I headed home to finish packing and didn’t sleep much, resulting in my drowsiness throughout the six-hour journey into Kuantan. We did stop at a Macs for breakfast but I slept through the rest of it and when we reached Endau and stopped at Restoran Nusantara I believe I was grumpy. Very grumpy.

I limited my mom and uncle to a speed limit of about 80km because I fear for my life and they had to abide by it. Stringent and frustrating but I rather reach in one piece!

First afternoon there, we hurriedly checked in and had some snacks before rushing off to my Sixth Grandaunt/Fourth Grandaunt’s place. Had a great time making mixed nut and lotus mooncakes!

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As you can see, they’re quite literally master bakers.

By the time we’d finished, all of us were tired and could only muster enough energy for some bak kut teh (my favourite!) and splendid chicken rice. Every time I go there I’m fed until I’m fat! They really do take good care of me 🙂

Second day was spent gallivanting around Kuantan’s two biggest malls – East Coast Mall and Megamall. I cannot believe I walked into a fragrance section and actually came out empty handed! Must have been really quite tired that day. After those two malls we basically just went over to my uncle’s place to have a family dinner and quickly went back to the hotel to sleep!

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Last day – headed over to grandaunts’ place to make walnut cake for my grandmother. Had a good heart to heart talk and found out a lot more about my family history! By the way, I saw an old photo of my grandfather and by golly he is the most handsome man I have ever laid my eyes on! I’m a granddaddy’s girl! 🙂

I’m also very privileged to see my cousins grow up – I am almost one full zodiac cycle older than the oldest of the cousins in Kuantan! We might have a different upbringing and environment but as far as I can see the basic culture and values inculcated are one and the same. When I’m older I’d want to bring my kids into Kuantan as well, to see the family home, the portraits and their uncles/aunties to be!

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Over the past few days I’ve been speaking and improving my Cantonese, which is not easy because I am not a Cantonese by birth, I’m a Teochew. Apparently when you’re born with a certain dialect group, your ear picks up that dialect better. If I had the interest to learn Teochew I would probably be a lot faster at picking it up than Cantonese, which I’ve been exposed to my whole life. In any case, I have made it a personal mission to go back to my ancestral village when I’ve learnt Taishanese (or what my grandmother and great-grandma call Sze Yap) and it’s quite distinct from Cantonese so.. that’ll be my “dialect”!

I place a lot of importance on family and I really enjoy learning about my family and just spending time together. It’s not worth it if I have the whole world but I lose the ones closest to me.

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Photos from first, second and last day as a concluding note to this post!

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