Recently heard of a baby's birthday celebration at a nice hotel. I became envious of a one-year-old.
I had birthday celebrations when I was very young. I don't remember much of course but I have photos of me and a cake with few candles during the short happier days of my childhood. The first I could actually remember was in kindergarten, when Mother brought a cake to class during tea break. The teacher gave me the flower biscuit on the sponge cake.
I would always get a cake for my birthdays before Oxford, sans the candles and singing as I grew up. And Mother would make my favourite spring rolls. So my birth was celebrated, very simple but I was happy.
There was only one fancy celebration, with friends and candles and singing. That was in primary 6, when Mother had the bright idea of "just say it's to celebrate end of school* else people bring you presents, waste money." That's just so typical of her, to feel bad when people are nice instead of accepting graciously..
* Mother went by the lunar calendar; my lunar birthday is usually end of year.
But I was very happy to be able to invite a few friends over for fried bee hoon and spring rolls etc so I was ok with no present. Of course the closest of friends knew about my birthday and brought presents anyway. So I couldn't help but felt I might have embarrassed those who didn't get any; this girl came by to pass me something a couple of days later..
But it was just a kid's thing, birthday celebrations. I don't really care for it anymore since it's the same every year. Would rather take a day off from work and enjoy me time..
Anyway, I was thinking about how lucky kids are these days, handphones, theme parties etc. I think birthday parties for babies are really a chance for a family get-together, since they won't remember a thing when they grow up. Birthday parties for demanding little princes and princesses and/or from doting parents may be a necessary indulgence for a happy childhood or maybe some sort of a compensation for busy parents who don't spend enough time with their kids.
But then I thought of the other kids, kids like me whose family could not afford such fancy stuff; how will they feel when they go to friends' lovely parties with the Snow White cakes? Oh, that's my time; it should be Nemo or some purple dinosaur of the 1990s/2000s that I'm not as familiar with. How will they feel if they're wearing plain white canvas shoes while their friends are walking around in Nikes? I remember going to a classmate's party in McDonald and wishing very hard that I could have one too, all the time knowing it was impossible. And I'm also the one with white canvas shoes, at half a size too small after a while. (Me wearing shoes half a size too small NOW has nothing to do with my family and everything to do with vanity! :p)
Think it could be worse these days.. I mean, it's no longer a case of the prettiest pencil case but the fanciest handphone! Birthday parties in McDonald are not as cool as a poolside party, all the better if the birthday boy or girl appears in the latest Superman suit or some princess gown.
Less well off kids must be feeling lousier these days. I hope they don't do anything drastic. I hope they turn out well in the end, like me. Ok, I'm a tad weird but overall, still ok.
Envy. There must be a reason why it is one of the Seven Sins, but when utilised as a motivation, it is also a very useful emotion.
PS: This could be the start of a series - my take on the Seven Sins.. But I may be guilty of sloth.. Kiv!