“So what do you want to do for your birthday?” I asked casually a few weeks before the day.
Shorty replied with a “Nothing… just a simple dinner”.
When I hear responses like this, alarm bells go off in my head while my in-brain FBI march from the napping area at the back, all the way to the front. Standing behind my eyes with lab coat scientists, every possible resource in my brain studies the body language of my dear wife as she said those five simple words.
The biggest question everyone seeks to answer is “Is she serious? Or is this a trap?”.
Many husbands have felt the wrath of their wives for simply missing the cue. I was determined to avoid that fate but hey how do you tell? What does she want? Ahh.. what women want… the age-old question then men have been asking for centuries but never finding.
Shortly after, one of my wife’s good friends Sieu Ee messaged me and asked what I was doing for my wife’s birthday. It was clear then that I had missed the cue. That I had better plan something and if “just a simple dinner” was all I had put together, I may find myself a very single and divorced man the day after her birthday.
The one thing my wife is blessed with is many many good friends. Sieu Ee and I brainstormed and chatted about what we would do and on deciding on a venue, Sieu Ee recalled a memory. Once upon a time Shorty was having dinner with Sieu Ee at one of her favourite Tai Chow places called Siew Siew. The happened to say in passing “I wish I could celebrate my birthday here”.
YOUR WISH IS MY COMMAND I THOUGHT!! The hard part had been done ie figuring out what to do. Doing was the easy part and heck if there’s one thing I’ve good at it’s execution. Unlike previous years I decided to keep the party small so that Shorty could relax and really enjoy herself rather than feeling the need to go around and entertain people. Besides many of her other friends had planned early birthday parties for her before the day.
Everything was planned, reservations were made when I decided to test the water a little bit. A few days before the big day I mentioned in passing “How about we go to Siew Siew for your birthday?”.
“WHAT?! NO! That’s a Tai Chow place! I want somewhere nice!!!”.
If my mind it was like a 100-ton Russian Nuclear Warhead had just gone off. I went into panic mode and I messaged Sieu Ee.
“ABORT MISSION. ABORT!”.
We then discussed what else we could do for her when I finally thought about something else. Maybe I could do a surprise birthday party for her at Colony, with a buffet of all her favourite food. Now here’s the thing about Audrey and I, I like steak, Audrey likes Japanese food but that’s as atas as we get. We’re not fans of fine dining. Beyond that we love duck rice, siew yoke fan, yong tao foo, bak kut teh and the likes. So I had the idea of buying her favourite street food or tai chow food and bringing them to Colony and form a buffet of all her favourites.
Doing that was a little harder than expected because her favourite food was Kam Heong Duck Rice in PJ, Pangkor Fishhead in Subang, Siew Siew in Sungai Besi and more. If you open up Google Maps and just punch in the location of these 3 areas, you’ll learn that they all exist in opposite directors of Klang Valley.
To make things more complicated we had to buy the food just before dinner so it doesn’t get cold and all. Plus her birthday party was going to be on a Friday.. after work on Friday which meant traffic was going to be worse than Chinese New Year traffic in Mainland China.
But it had to be done and I did say that I’m good at execution (heh my investors say so as much when it comes to Colony).
All that was missing was a cover story. Fortunately just below Colony is a famous Japanese restaurant called Oribe. So I told her we were going there for dinner. On the day itself I told her that I needed to go up to Colony for a second to sign some documents so she followed me up.
As I walked into the front of Colony she paused, saw a mirror and decided to take an OOTD picture. From where I was standing I could see all her best friends hiding in a corner, waiting to shout “SURPRISE!!!!”. What do I do? I stood there frozen for a second trying to decide what to do.
She looked at me a little annoyed and said “HEY! Get out of my shot”. So I awkwardly walked through the cafe in Colony and towards my office. When I realised she still wasn’t done with her OOTD, I went to join her friends hiding in a corner waiting to shout HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
After what must’ve been the time it took to invent electricity, Shorty finally emerged and walked through the corridor. Everyone shouted SURPRISE!!! and Surprise she was!
It was a great relaxed dinner party for her and she was so happy. How did I know she was happy?
Well halfway through the dinner she said “I’M SO HAPPY!”. So yeah. Doesn’t get more obvious than that. All the best brains in my brain went back to the back and turned the TV back on.
Shorty later explained that she didn’t want Siew Siew because she thought it was just going to be a dinner with me and her and if was just going to be the both of us she wanted something better than tai chow. But if she knew it was with all her friends, she wouldn’t have mind.
No matter. Either ways she had a great time and that’s all that matters.