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Thursday, 26 January 2012

Oh dear, I've really f*cked up.

I've been happily married for 7 years, and the last 27 haven't been too bad as well, so after all that time, you'd think that I would learn the basic rules of a happy home life.

These are:
  1. Never come home drunk.
  2. Always agree with the Beloved.
  3. A kiss on the cheek can mollify.
  4. Always remember to put out the rubbish.
  5. Bring home 1 bunch of flowers per year.  More than 1 indicates guilt, and she'll keep looking to find out the cause which is definitely NOT to be desired. Giving none at all indicates (to her) a lack of love and devotion, which leads to tears and midnight discussions on the quality of the relationship (and probably includes an analysis of her sex life),which is definitely not to be desired.
  6. Don't forget Birthdays, Anniversaries, Christmas or any other dates significant to the Beloved.
  7. Don't forget to follow the correct customs for each occasion.
  8. Don't come home late without letting the Beloved know in advance, even if the cause is earthquake, tsunami, riot, insurrection or nuclear war.  These are NOT acceptable excuses.  Neither are muggings, running out of petrol, getting a flat tyre, multiple pile-ups on a fog covered motorway or a colleagues leaving party.  Surprisingly, being admitted to the local hospital for a suspected cardiac infarction was deemed OK.

I made a mistake.
A bad mistake.
A very bad mistake.
I really f*cked up.
I forgot number 7 above.

My Beloved is originally from Singapore, and even though she's spent the majority of her life living in Scotland or New Zealand, she tries to follow her cultural expectations.  She gives Ang Pow (The traditional red packet of money) at birthdays and for special events, she makes the different foods for all of the Chinese holidays and special events (and she is magnificent cook) as well as following all the western traditions as well.

She makes a superb Christmas cake as well as an outstanding beef Rendang (a dryish curry).  So I've got the best of both worlds.


I forgot number 7.

Last week we had just returned from our little break in Hawke's Bay(see Here, Here or Here) and the day after we returned, I noticed that writ large on the calendar for the next day were the words CHINESE NEW YEAR.
It's the Year of the Dragon


I had completely forgotten.

So being a bloke of initiative, and filled with the traditional Kiwi can-do, I fired up my trusty computer, started M$ Publisher and within ½ hour I had produced a pretty snazzy New Year Card, celebrating the Year of the Dragon.  I even had a particularly nauseating verse, expressing my undying love, devotion and pension rights, in both English and Chinese scripts.


Oh Dear.

The next day as m'son and I sat down to the special New Year Eve meal, I detected a little unexpected frostiness from my Beloved.

An Icy Wind

Did the usual checks, fly, lipstick, fart odour but all seemed OK.
I had just finished a 2 hour "Clean The House Before New Year" session, but I didn't mind as my Beloved had been working away at the stove, producing some really mouthy-watering aromas.

As I pulled out my Beloved's chair, preparatory to her sitting down, she walked away from us, went into a sideboard and produced two packages, which she gave to m'son and I.

They were full of new clothes and each had an Ang Pow on top.

If you don't know what FUBAR means, see here


I had completely forgotten about the custom of giving new clothes (or gold) at this time of the year.

I had remembered for the last 3 years (not bad eh?  3 out of 34 isn't too bad) but for some unknown reason (I may blame neurological deterioration caused by over-exposure to teenagers and Ringo) I had not connected the holiday and the custom in my poor overworked brain.

Even m'son looked a bit guilty, and it takes a lot for that too happen.
Normal youth's expression

Youth showing guilt

Then I forgot to put the Ang Pow under my pillow that evening.  It's another traditional Chinese custom which I had completely forgotten, and so when my Beloved found the Ang Pow lying on top of my dirty socks, she was not amused in any way, seeing it as a direct insult on her culture, on all of her work and on her.
Traditional Ang Pow

Life has been a little strained over the last few days and although I detect a slight thawing of the frozen (almost bloody cryogenic) atmosphere, I suspect that it will be some time before normal warm relations resume.

Chinese New Year celebrations go on for two weeks, and I'm sure there's more traditions associated with their ending, but for the life of me, I cannot remember what they are.
Maybe I should ask my Beloved what they are?

What do you think.



  1. Oh dear. Run out, get her a new dress, make an Ang Pow and maybe get some Snapdragons? You have guilt, it fits. Good luck TSB!

  2. Does wearing red underwaey qualify as a red package?

    As it is the Year of the Dragon I suggest buying her pre-release tickets to The Hobbit with all the trimmings.

    By the way, Year of the Dragon is my birth year.

  3. Yeah, and Comeinyourpants is sixty this year.

  4. So a Singaporean living in NZ married to a Scotsman has got the hump about neglected customs from China.

    I'd get a bit lost too.

    With Beloved's slightly highminded cross-cultural expectations there, I trust she got the bagpipes out and gave you a jolly good Burns Night?

  5. Austan: Good idea,but wouldn't that be a little hypocritical? The main factor isn't the lack of a present, it the fact that I FORGOT which of course (under wome's logic rules)= DON'T LOVE. But thanks for the best wishes.

    TC: No, it doesn't. Nice idea about the Hobbit; I'll give it a go, and if I survive I'll let you know how it went.
    I'm a Dragon as well.

    Richard: Yes I know. All Dragons are either 60, 45, 30 or 15 this year, and my money was on the 60.

    looby: You silly (but well meaning) boy. You're using LOGIC. But this is now an emotional issue, so it doesn't apply, especially as female emotions are involved. *sigh*

    Sorry to dissapoint, but no bagpipes; although I quite like a quick pibroch now and again.

  6. Tell her your man's brain needs a refresher course every two years! If you mostly follow the rules you listed, you're actually doing pretty well. My own husband can't even manage to stick to those.

  7. What ARE you worrying about. Surely it's just another case of SNAFU. You must be used to that by now. We're Scottish so that's our default setting as far as these things go.

    And she did promise to love you 'for better or worse' and everyone knows that worse bit is just in there to make you feel a bit better on the day.

    These things are just female strategy to keep us on the back foot and keep the control in their hands. Just carry on as normal.

    {That last sentence was just a joke BTW}

    You poor foolish man.........

  8. I have two things to say. The first is that I've been married eighteen years, and I was furiously writing down your rules. Good job. The second thing is don't be so hard on yourself. I'm lucky to remember birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentine's Day. You should get a silver star for effort in trying to be considerate of your wife's cultural differences.

  9. Patience_Crabstick: Oh thanks a bunch. I did as you suggested, saying that a Man's brains needed refreshing every two years, and she replied "it's more like every 60 seconds!" She is not a happy bunny. *Shh* These are the rules I'm supposed to follow. I'm not very good at following rules, which is why I'm glad the 20 year statute of limitations on one particular event runs out in two months.

    Alistair:Oh dear, I've gone past SNAFU and am well into FUBAR. Look, you know(as every married guy does) that that bit about "for better or worse" ONLY apllies to them. We're always worse (or worst.

    Oh, a joke!
    Very bloody funny. HA HA HA *straight face*

    What is normal?
    Is guilt normal?
    Is abstinence normal?

    Patrick Dickie: (Exbothered) Thanks for the supportive comments, and if you can actually follow the rules, then you're either a better man than I, or completely hen-pecked.

    Well done.

  10. Well I think you are a terribly patient man TSB and your beloved just expects far too much from you.
    If she only knew what you had to put up with after another fully and tiring year of teaching at NLHS, she may understand why you may forget some things. Take her to work with you for a week and let her observe all the shit that you must deal with daily. ONly then will she truly understand - perhaps. Other than that go back and read Men are from Mars Women are from Venus or start watching Dr Phil.

  11. Obviously I cannot help in this quest as I cannot even remember such a long list,.

  12. I'll see you in church this morning.

  13. VG: Thank you; I'm a Saint you know. Actually the one thing I never want to do is to introduce my Beloved to the delights of Nuova Lazio High School. I am a strong believer in separation of work and home. Too many secrets need to stay secret.
    And they call me paranoid HAHAHAHAHAHA.

    As regards your last sentence, I strongly believe that if Men are from Mars, Women are from the 2nd moon of the 15th planet in the system GC32665 in the Andromeda Galaxy.

    Laoch: I understand. Neither can I, which is why I quite often end up sh*t creek without a paddle.

    AJ: HAHAHAHAHAHA. Go back to sleep you g*d botherer you. The only way I'll be back in church is when they put me in a wooden box and my Beloved ignores my dying wishes.


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