By co-incidence, on the first night after I returned from Cat City, I found myself at the dinner celebrating the marriage of Singapore-born, Oxford educated and Cambridge-based anthropologist Liana Chua and her first spring with her husband.
The co-incidence lies in the fact that Dr Chua’s speciality is the Bidaiyuh, an indigenous ethnic group of Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. She has spent the past month on another of her study trips to Sarawak and was recently joined there by her in-laws and her husband.
I was at the celebrations tonight because her mother and I are friends. When I received the dinner invitation, my Cat City trip wasn’t yet in the works.
And happily, the trip ended last night rather than tonight, because if that had been the case, I won’t have gone on the trip, since I had already accepted the celebratory invitation and won’t have cancelled just to travel.
Tonight’s event was suitably a mixture of ethnic and colony, East and West, young and old. Liana’s mum, J, is an expert at mixing culture with what’s cool and contemporary. Apart from family and friends like me, the rest of the guests was a veritable “who’s who” in Singapore’s arts community.
The dinner was held at Burkill Hall in our Singapore Botanic Gardens. The caterer was freelance Peranakan chef Philip Chia whose food I last tasted almost a year ago.
Tonight’s nyonya menu was almost a replica of the previous function. In addition there was wine and entertainment with the Singapore Youth Choir Ensemble singing three songs.
Such great ingredients for perfect memory making!