I learned to use chopsticks when I was a kid.
My Dad was the entrepreneurial type, always starting new businesses, always swearing that ‘this was the one’. We had periods when I was very young when we didn’t have a lot of money. However, for the majority of my formative years we were, not wealthy, but certainly comfortable. Dad worked hard to give us the life he felt we deserved. He grew up poor and he was determined that we would want for nothing.
We had a lot of family traditions, but one of my favourites was Karaoke night at the local Chinese restaurant. We always attended as a family, and it was a lot of fun. Dad would order a bunch of food to share between us. Usually we’d have a couple of entrees (most often spring rolls and steamed dim sims), three or four main meals and lots of fried rice. If Dad was feeling especially generous, we’d even get to order a soup each!
Dad used these meals to ensure we learned to use chopsticks, to bring the plate to our mouth rather than bending to the plate, general restaurant behaviour, and so on. After we were all full from a delicious meal, the karaoke would start. None of us were brilliant singers, but we always had a wonderful time. It was an opportunity to dress up, have fun and spend time with our Dad, who was often working late or away on business trips.
Karaoke nights are some of my fondest childhood memories. What are yours?