A birthday not to be forgotten
One of her best birthdays yet, surrounded with the most important people in her life.
BY: Eleanor Yap
This was the first time Eleane Khoo celebrated her 81st birthday, not only during Singapore’s first circuit breaker but also at home, and she enjoyed it the most. “Before the circuit breaker, my birthday celebration would be at a restaurant. It was a lot of hassle, we would have to select which restaurant to go to, make a reservation and then drive there. This time around, it was more casual and relaxed, and no driving. It was a homelier affair and I enjoyed that much better. It was more me.”
She added that the most important thing for her was being with her family. “I have my family close to me and I got to spend more time with them. And, we could take our time eating and enjoying each other’s company. If we stayed in a restaurant for three or four hours, we would have been chased off.”
And another great thing about that day was she got a day-off from cooking! “It is only one day-off so my five grandkids and my daughter had to do the cooking as I am the one cooking lunch and dinner.” She explained that before the circuit breaker, she was usually on her own during lunchtime and would then handle dinner for the family but because of the circuit breaker and her grandchildren are working from home or studying online, she had to pick up the slack and took on lunch as well. “No da bao (a Chinese word for takeaway) allowed!” she laughed.
But on her birthday, she had no menus to plan, no cutting of ingredients and absolutely, no cooking. Her grandchildren cooked a spread of food for brunch which consisted of French toast (a favourite of Eleane’s), scrambled eggs ala Gordon Ramsey’s recipe, shakshuka (a Middle Eastern dish of tomato and poached eggs), sausages, banana pancakes (a favourite of her grandchildren’s) and mixed fruit salad with strawberries and blueberries. While eating, Eleane shared they talked and laughed. “We talked about what they used to do when younger. We talked about all kinds of things.”
For dinner, it was a good old delivery of KFC, which happens to be Eleane’s favourite. “I wanted it simple and not to trouble my family to cook. I asked my daughter to order KFC, which I haven’t had for a long time. My daughter wanted to order crab and other stuff but I was happy with KFC and was happy to celebrate my birthday together.”
Did someone say cake and presents? In keeping with Eleane’s wish to keep things simple, her daughter baked a peach pie. “I love peaches. It was a real surprise as I said I didn’t want any cake and I didn’t want delivery either but I wanted it to be simple.” A tall order but she got her wish, remarking about the peach pie, “It was good.” She also told her family not to buy presents so they did the next best thing – gave her ang pows with money in them.
So, what would she say to other seniors who have to be stuck at home celebrating their birthdays? “Continue thinking positively, enjoy every happy moment with the family and make the best out of things,” shared Eleane.