IT’S been a big year for us at Star2 – the Chinese zodiac dragon made its presence very much felt as we weathered many trials and tribulations and went through numerous changes at work. Many of us suffered personal tragedies and losses as well, but somehow, we’ve pulled through and finally, we’re winding down for the year end.
Last week, some of us took a little time out from what has seemed like a punishing schedule, to have a bit of fun and festive revelry. Our in-house chefs baked yummy goodies (Ming Teoh’s blueberry cheese cake was to die for and Andrew Sia told Jane Ragavan her cinnamon bread was so good she could quit and start her own bakery! What??), while the rest of us ordered stuff (satay, pizza, rojak, chicken pie). We played Christmas music and Kenneth Chaw and Angelin Yeoh organised silly impromptu games as well.
Here, some of us share our thoughts on the season. We hope they inspire you, or at least give you a glimpse into the lives of the people whose bylines you see so often in these pages. And we wish you a very merry and blessed Christmas, and a Happy New Year ahead!
From all of us at Star2
Michael Cheang: I can’t listen to O Holy Night these days without imagining it being sung by Eric Cartman (South Park) and getting zapped by a cattle prod every time he gets the words wrong. What would I like to get as a Christmas present and why? A lightsaber. Come on, you don’t need a reason. It’s a lightsaber.
Nasa Maria Entaban: This will be my first Christmas as a married woman, and the first Christmas in 11 years when all my siblings will be in the country. My most memorable Christmas present was the doll house that my dad made for me when I was four years old.
N. Rama Lohan: All I want for Christmas is a Gretsch 6120 electric guitar, like the one Brian Setzer played with The Stray Cats. I’m not concerned who I get it from, but obviously, it’ll be from someone who likes me enough. Yup, sounds like I’m not getting it this year, doesn’t it? Sigh.
Davin Arul: My favourite Christmas movie has to be Die Hard, followed by Home Alone (which was basically Die Hard as well); and my fav Christmas TV show is And All Through The House on Tales From The Crypt. What I want for Christmas? Yvonne Strahovski as Santarina, from Yvonne Strahovski.
Shamala Suresh Kee: My most memorable Christmas present was the first Jughead And Archie Double Digest comic I received from my music teacher when I was 10. It was a sweet, new discovery for me then. What’s special for Christmas this year? Am expecting my second child anytime now. What’s more exciting than having a new addition to the family during this festive season?
Sharmilla Ganesan: My absolute favourite Christmas movie (if you can call it that) is The Nightmare Before Christmas, a true animation classic that is as bizarre as it is beautiful. Nothing like chills running down your spine to put you in the mood for some Christmas cheer, right? Right? My worst Christmas ever was when I spent hours sitting on the ground in front of the check-in counters at the Paris airport, as it seemed like every tourist in the city was trying to get a flight home. And after spending half a day queuing up, I got to spend another 15 hours in a plane. Lesson learnt: don’t try to be smart by booking your flight for Christmas day.
Bervin Cheong: My most memorable Christmas moment was getting severely sloshed and had a hangover that lasted till the New Year. Hey, it’s something that I will never forget. What’s special for Christmas this year? Planning a Christmas get-together that doesn’t involve drinking this year. It’s a first!
Chan Lai Hun: My favourite Xmas song is Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, especially when played in malls ... it just puts you in a shopping mood. I remember decorating my first Christmas tree which I bought with my own savings. But that was eons ago ... And my most memorable Christmas present was my first fountain pen, a Parker no less, that was given to me by my dad. I was in Standard Four then.
Mumtaj Begum: Does The Nightmare Before Christmas count as a Christmas movie? Maybe not, but I’d take Sandy Claws breaking into a song composed by Danny Elfman on any day of the year. And talking about songs, The Pretenders’ 2000 Miles is not technically a Christmas song but it’s beautiful, sad and somewhat hopeful all at the same time. And yes, I am the Grinch in disguise.
Lee Mei Li: My most memorable Christmas moment was when I celebrated Christmas in Singapore with my family. I was about four or five and I remember both my sister and brother got to choose what toys they wanted (a truck for my brother and a doll house for my sister), while I only got books (Cabbage Patch Kids and Care Bears). My most memorable Christmas present was when I received a Barbie Supermarket Set from my mum.
Louisa Lim: When I was a wee girl of three, I discovered Santa was just another Asian in a fat suit and he resided only in shopping malls. Needless to say, it took me awhile to get over the trauma. My fave Christmas film is, without a doubt, The Nightmare Before Christmas, because I love Tim Burton and I always get nightmares before Christmas, especially when it comes to what pressies to buy. I want Christian Bale for Christmas, but I would happily settle for Taylor Kitsch if Bale isn’t available. Need I say more?
Natalie Heng: What’s special for Christmas this year? Having it in an awesome new apartment with lots of freshly purchased plants on the balcony.
Jane Frances Ragavan: Most memorable Christmas present? Cash ... and I hated it. I was in that annoying irritable teenager phase then and was angry that my parents hadn’t made any effort to think of a real present. My worst Christmas ever was during my first year at university when a sports meet prevented me from going home. It was also the most memorable because my mates and I stole a “Christmas tree” for my dorm room (we drove a kilometre to the wooded area on campus in the middle of the night, hacked a large branch off a Casuarina tree, and made our getaway with the branch hanging out of the car).
Sharmila Nair: My most memorable Christmas literally stank. Right after the Christmas party one year, my cousins (there were, like, 20 of them) herded us all into a room ... and had a farting competition. I almost died ... and no, I don’t want to talk about it (FYI, I didn’t participate in it). My favourite Christmas movie is Home Alone. You think that nobody cares about you, but then your mum travels a million kilometres just to get home to see that you’re safe ... and then yell at you. I could totally relate to that character.
Tan Shiow Chin: Memorable Christmas moment and why? One Christmas I totally lost my voice because I overstrained it while going house-to-house carolling with my church youth group. Needless to say, that was my last Christmas carolling. What would I like to get as a Christmas present? Well, if anyone would like to give me a week’s stay at the Pangkor Laut Estates, I wouldn’t say no; but since no one I know is that generously rich, I’ll settle for Kinokuniya book vouchers of any value from any and all. (Unfortunately, my family doesn’t exchange gifts for Christmas. Sigh.)
Nadine Fernandez: I love my family tradition for Christmas eve. We begin with dinner, followed by midnight mass and then back home again for a nightcap of sherry and homemade pineapple tarts. We then exchange gifts (and open them!) and just generally enjoy everyone’s company. Why? Because that is what Christmas really is all about and that is togetherness, love, forgiveness and hope. The fact that I am newly married, living in a new home with new responsibilities and new family members will make this a special Christmas “first” for me. Yay! My most favourite Christmas song is Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You. It makes me happy.
Angelin Yeoh: Worst Christmas ever? I spent Christmas alone in an empty flat in Perth, Australia, during my lousy uni days. I watched a cartoon called Lost & Found based on the book by Oliver Jeffers and the show made me cry. What would I like to get as a Christmas present? A zoo.
Ming Teoh: My most memorable Christmas moment was when I was a kid of 14 years old, studying overseas. It was my first “white” Christmas (the week just before Christmas) and the first time I ever saw snow. I ran outside with just a sweater on (without a jacket) to build my first snowman and have a snowball fight with my schoolmates. We came back with frozen hands and feet (the snow soaked through our canvas shoes) ... and got an earful from the school principal ... but it was fun! Nyuk nyuk nyuk...
Kevin Tan: My most memorable Christmas was the Christmas celebration when I was 12 because I remember how grandpa would gather all of us (family and relatives) at his place (where he had a huge white decorated Christmas tree) every year and we would exchange presents. After his passing, we never did it again. I don’t see my relatives anymore): (so emo, I know. haha...) I think I spent one whole Christmas day sleeping. And when I woke up, Christmas was over! What would I like this year? A bass guitar? The more bass guitars, the merrier!
S. Indramalar: My most favourite Christmas movie is Love Actually, a romantic comedy about love explored through the lives of different characters. It was a heartwarming movie that is only a little cheesy but very funny. Bonus point: it stars Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. How not to be full of mirth? My favourite Christmas song isn’t a carol but Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas which was released in 1984 to raise money for poverty-striken Ethiopians. What would I like to get as a Christmas present? I would like a (return, optional) airplane ticket to New York City. Or Rio de Janeiro. Or Amsterdam. I’m no that fussy, really.
Karyn Anne Krishnan: Most memorable Christmas present? My baby sister. But Santa was five days late.
Evelyn Len: My most memorable (pre-) Christmas moment was watching the spectacular fireworks display at Sleeping Beauty Castle (and seeing my children’s faces light up) during a family trip to Hong Kong Disneyland in 2008.
Ann Marie Chandy: I love Christmas because my extended family always makes it a point to celebrate; so it’s literally 12 days of Christmas dinners, singing carols and making merry! One of my favourite Christmases was at my maternal grandad’s house, which we called “headquarters” when I was about four or five. I remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday. We had a real Christmas tree, all my cousins were there and my older sister Becky was dressed up as Santa and parcelled out the presents!
William Kee: Memorable Christmas moment and why? In Chiengmai with good friends (many moons ago), and we learnt how to wish everyone “Merry Xmas” in Thai.
My favourite Christmas movie is How The Grinch Stole Christmas and fave song is O Holy Night, Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam. What would I like this year? A trip around the world, with Oprah Winfrey. All expenses paid, from Oprah. Why? Cos it’s Oprah. And urm, peace on earth.
Malini Dias: Worst Christmas ever? I got beaten up! A friend called in a panic saying her ex was trying to break into her flat but the idiot didn’t want to call the cops. So I decided to be a hero and went over there ... and got punched in the stomach by her idiot ex. What did I learn? Goodwill to all men doesn’t always work.... and call the cops next time! What would I like as a Christmas present? A signed, first-edition copy of Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy.
Kenneth Chaw: What would I like to get as a Christmas present, from who and why? I’d like to get Santa as a Christmas present, of course. Then I get to prove to everyone that he does exist!
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