Make a Wish, Blow a Candle

Photos of my last 8 birthdays – retrieved from my digital archive.  It is one of those days in the year when I feel very blessed and loved. Thanks to God’s blessings, my life is blessed with lots of caring friends, doting soul mates and loving families. 35 good years and I am looking forward for another 35 great ones.

I can’t remember the wishes I have made. Usually, I was too distracted by the loud public crowing of the birthday song. Surely, my friends can sing this old classic better – if they aren’t too lazy about their terrible pitch and tone. (What’s worse is when they start to sing the "all the versions" – English, Chinese and Cantonese!) You wish you took that VIP room offer. Next, it is about the candles…It seems that after my 18th birthday, no one bother to put the exact numbers of candles for me. Sometimes it was 1, 2 or 3 candles. Another strange thing about lighting up the candles. No one seems to remember the most important ritual item – the lighter. If there is no smoker friend… you can imagine the chaos.

There I was, looking at those melting wax on the creamy pile of cake…and preparing for those sudden bursts of flash. And then, everyone ask you to make a wish. Normally, I would make 2-3 wishes. Sometimes 5 – depending on my mood. No, none of my wishes came true. Or they did. Anyway, I don’t remember them the next morning. 1 wish stays constant throughout the years and that is "I wish that all my friends’ and families’ wishes come true." Pretty selfless, right? Or simply lazy. Mmm.. perhaps, I need to be serious about my wish this year.

Maybe it is the way we celebrate our birthday. The venue and the song. What do you expect them to do when you are in the restaurant? Eat, sing, blow cake, cut cake and eat again. Right after I finish my cake ceremony, I start my "forest-killing" ritual – tear the wrapping paper, destroy the packaging and inspect the "surprise" inside. Can we for once – imagine birthday without candles, cake and that dreadful song? 

I need to do something. Different. Maybe not in time for this year. But surely it justifies a wish that I can make later in the restaurant. No more birthday cake-cutting in the restaurant / office conference room next year. Keep the candle (as it is the cheapest and simplest form of ritual). Maybe no candle on the cake. How about on the Peking Duck? Or on a gigantic deep-friend wanton? How about doing this at the beach? On the roller-coaster ride? Or maybe even underwater in the sea? Or best, outside Steve Job’s house!

It is 7:15pm now. Time to go to blow my candle, cut my cake and make my wish. The gang is waiting for me at the Causeway Bay restaurant now. Life is beautiful and full of sweet surprises. So are birthdays. Surprise me please.

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