Sunday, August 07, 2005

Yum cha sessions

Every time I head back to Penang, I have to rely on hubby's generous gesture in consenting to wake up at the ungodly hour of 4am to drive me up north, so that I would arrive in Penang just in time to pick my paternal grandparents up for their ritual yum-cha session. My paternal grandparents are early birds and anything later than 7:30am is scandalous.

Yum cha sessions are a ritual which my bro and I have been introduced to when we just little kids. Back then, we both had our favourites - my bro was easily attracted and conned by rainbow coloured dim sum, which most of the time fared miserably in the taste department...whereas I would tend to go for good old standard boring, but reliable stuff like siew mai, fish balls and har kau. Having filled our little tummies then, we would squirm uncomfortably in our chairs and watch in despair as my grandparents refilled pot after pot of tea. They used to tell us: "Yum cha sessions are in reference to tea drinking and chit-chat...dim sum is merely an accompaniment"

As we grew up, yum cha sessions became more tolerable as we were then able to participate in conversations, and heck...sometimes the stories my grandparents told us were pretty interesting too. And this was primarily how we bonded with my paternal grandparents...over cups and cups of tea. During these sessions, we heard about the World War, about how hard life was in the kampung in Kedah, about our dad's and aunt's many antics and of course...many lessons were imparted - some wise, and some not so wise, coloured as they were by my grandparents' prejudices.

The older we grew, the less time we had for yum cha sessions. What used to be weekly affairs on Saturdays diminished to perhaps once a month sessions during our school days when even weekend mornings were dedicated to school activities or tuition classes. After Form 5, I missed many more yum cha sessions, having moved to KL for college and subsequently to the UK for university.

I realised that these sessions were sorely missed by my paternal grandparents. They lived on their own, and bro and I were their only grandchildren. I knew that they loved us to bits as bro and I were totally spoilt rotten by them. Anything we wanted and pointed out, we would undoubtedly get. *grin*

I used to "make up" for my long absences every summer break my accompanying them for yum cha sessions every single morning. Chit-chat sessions which last well to mid-day! But now, having to work and settle down in KL....yum-cha sessions are merely limited to the occasional trips back to Penang.

It is still the usual fare....but my paternal grandparents are getting old. My grandpa is stooped, hard of hearing and has developed a limp whereas I am witnessing my grandma getting more senile every time I visit.

Conversations now are like an on-going tape recorder playing endlessly on loop...most spent reminiscing the olden days when things were tough/ when my bro and I were young and supposedly, very cute and cheeky. My grandma sometimes treats me as if I were other times, I am eighteen. It never registers that I am now earning a living and am getting married soon.

Things have so changed...I should make more efforts to go back to Penang more spend more time with least while my grandma can still recognise me as her only granddaughter.


At 12:46 pm, Blogger Aurora said...

The next time you go back to Penang, we should meet up for a .. well, maybe not yum char session, but i'm up to a cinnamon latte at Dome if you're game ;)

At 1:54 pm, Blogger munsta said...

ahahahah...just that my trips back are really short (normally leave after lunch on Sunday)...and coz of the early drive frm KL on Sat usually pretty useless by Sat nite (when things are supposed to be jumping!!!)...signs of age, damn! hahahahaah but yeah....when I do pop up for a longer trip! will be good to meet in person :)


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