Memorable Moments - Personal Narrative

Memorable Moments - Personal Narrative

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Memorable Moments - Personal Narrative

When I am together with my friends, I always get stares from the
people on the street. Sometimes, certain people might even pass snide
comments about my group of friends. One man with jet black cropped
hair commented sarcastically when we were walking in his direction,
"United Nations in Singapore? How 'colourful'." What followed his
comment was a roar of laughter from people around him. My good friends
do seem to make up the United Nations. Each of my friend belonged to
the 4 major races in Singapore, therefore our skin colours are
naturally 4 different colours. Yet, these cutting comments never ever
got us down as my most memorable moments are spent with them. I
appreciate the fact that I had a chance to have good friends from the
different races.

As all my good friends are from different races, I had the opportunity
to learn something new everyday. The most memorable moment that I
spent with my friends was during the Chinese New Year celebrations few
years ago. I remembered my good friend, Hui Ying, invited all of us to
her house for celebrations. It was on that very day that I learnt so
many different things about the cultures of the various races.

"Welcome In! Happy Chinese New Year!" Hui Ying cried out cheerily as
she saw the vivid shades of colours at her door step. Coming from a
traditional Chinese family, my parents were very particular on having
me wear a cheongsam on the first day of the lunar New year. As usual,
Christine was in her washed out jeans and t-shirt. Being a Eurasian,
she constantly complained about her 'identity crisis'. Having a
Caucasian father and Singaporean mother, she never knew exactly which
culture to follow. Therefore, she was always dressed in casual wear.
However, Devi was in her favourite purple sari while Siti was in her
lime green baju.

We stepped into Hui Ying modest HDB flat. "What's with the
decoration?" Christine asked casually, gazing wide-eyed around the
house.

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On the off-white walls, Chinese good luck couplets were hung in
pairs, while red lanterns were dangling over heads. I began to explain
to Christine and the rest about how it was suppose to bring good luck
for the new year and also helps to create a festive mood. Devi adds on
by saying that on Deepavali, her family would draw designs outside of
her home to ward of evil. Siti also explained that on Hari Raya, her
family would also hang ketupats around her house.

Hui Ying's mother then approached us, her hands clutching something
red. My eyes gleamed in joy as the dollar signs started ringing in my
head. All 4 of us chorused in unison, "Thank you Auntie! Have a good
year ahead!" Hui Ying's mother let out a tinkling laugh and handed to
us the red packets. Siti then took Hui Ying's mother's hand and shook
it. After that, she used the same hand and touched her heart. Devi and
I glanced quizzically at each other and looked over at Christine.
Christine merely shrugged and displayed a confused expression. Later,
we learnt that Siti was showing her respect and thanks to Hui Ying's
mother. It was in their tradition to pay respects to their elders in
such a manner.

We then gathered around Hui Ying's dining table for a little feast.
Delicious, glorious food! We immediately tucked into pineapple tarts,
melon seed, biscuits, sweets. A discussion of the various types of
food we got to try during our traditional festival. Suddenly, I was
opened to this whole new world as I learnt about the different
delicacies offered by the different races. Even Christine had words of
wisdom to offer. She started to recount the time when she spent
Christmas in New York with her family. She explained to us the
tradition of drinking eggnog. All of us were so engaged in the
conversations of our different cultures, I hardly noticed that it was
nearly time for us to leave. We even finished all of the food Hui
Ying's mother prepared for her other guests!

As I headed to my next destination, I started to reflect on our little
"outing". I had always felt uncomfortable when strangers on the street
stare at us quizzically. It seemed as if it is a strange sight to see
people of different races being good friends. However, I start to
realise that it was actually a good thing that people from different
races become good friends. In our interaction with one another, we
learn to tolerate and understand the beliefs and customs of other
races. In this current world with so much fighting going on, I think
it is very important for everyone to learn about racial understanding
and tolerance. If people could start to see what is on the inside and
judge a person by the colour of its skin, perhaps this world might be
a much better place! My most memorable moments would always be with my
good friends from the various races as I always get to have fun and
learn something new when I am with them.
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