When was the last time you had reunion dinner with your family?
The last time I went back to Malaysia was just before COVID hit. It was literally just before it happened because I returned here to celebrate Chinese New Year and I was supposed to go back to China after that. But my China company told me to stay put here because it was very dangerous there. After that, Singapore’s situation worsened so I couldn’t go back.
What’s your favourite reunion dinner related memory?
Definitely having reunion dinners with my parents. We would always have steamboat. Even though we have hotpot all the time, it’s only during Chinese New Year when we get extra delicacies like the extra big prawns which are the size of your palm. I didn’t even know that such prawns existed. (Laughs)
We’d always play with firecrackers outside the house since it’s allowed in Malaysia. It was great seeing my parents act like kids again. My mum has passed away so I’ll always remember her looking like a kid trying to light up the fireworks, and running away giggling after lighting it up with a joss stick. These are the kinds of things that are very memorable for me.
CNY is also the time of the year when kaypoh relatives ask awkward questions like how much you earn. How do you deal with that?
Just smile and act blur. (Laughs) I’ll always try to smile and answer in a way that’s a bit deflective but people won’t find deflective…? (Chuckles) Like ‘Oh, I still have to work a lot because it’s not enough…’ Something like that?
Does it work?
Thankfully, yes. (Laughs)
Do you get a lot of photo requests when you go visiting?
Photos — yes, all the time, actually. There are also neighbours who will ring our doorbell to ask for photographs! Even at my grandma’s funeral, there were people from funeral parlours next door who asked for photos. But my family members rejected them for me as it really wasn’t an appropriate place for it.
Outside of the funeral context, I think that photos are fine. I’m just thankful that everyone I’ve come across has been very nice and understanding.
Reunion Dinner is out in cinemas now.
Photos: Lawrence Wong/Instagram, Lawrence Wong/Weibo, Golden Village