First of all, thank you for being the weirdest, most mismatched group of people there is. Look at us, no longer 18. No longer looking at the world as if we are invincible, as if our biggest problem is a bad grade on a chemistry test. We have seen each other through heart breaks and sleepless nights, and even as we brace ourselves for the next phase of life, I am glad to have the eight of you as my constants.
I have so many wonderful memories of us. Remember how we all used to buy chicken rice in school, and the auntie has a code name for all of our special orders? Remember the time we went to Sentosa and took a thousand and one photos? Remember the time we sat on the lawn outside Marina Square, and played the nastiest game of Shoot Shag Marry? Of course you do. We talk about all these things all the time. We are barely 23, yet we have already become old folks nostalgic for the past! But it is okay. I love these conversations, even the petty bickers and snide remarks that are almost inevitable in our interactions. See, I told you this was a mismatched group.
To Lorraine, thank you for trusting me to be your girl friend. Its scary how alike we are, regardless in our good (our independence), our bad (our insecurities), or our weird (stop creeping on our friends’ girlfriends!). I have to admit, sometimes I get irrationally envious of you because you seem to have everything going on for you (I know I know, that’s why I said irrational). But then I know for a fact that you deserve all the good things in your life, because you hustled hard for them. So go win at life, my fellow prata-lover. You can count on me to be your go-to girl always.
To Cliffton, I will always treasure our ability to make things awkward for everyone. That is one dynamic that not many friends can claim. But seriously, thank you for entrusting your ambitions to me. I fully understand the fear of stagnating, of going through the motion because that is what is expected of you. But trust me, you are never going to be one of the settlers. You are going places my friend, with that perfect mix of drive and gentleman manners (yes, I am admitting it). Have fun, dream big, and stop asking me if I am okay!
To Sean, thank you for being the unexpected sounding board when I was going through a strange period in my life. Conversations with you often feels like there should be an indie music soundtrack playing in the background – they are often so honest that it feels straight out of a movie scene, if it makes sense. I hope it does. But anyway, don’t worry if life is not going as planned. Take a deep breath and enjoy where you are now. As long as you are always moving forward, you will be more than just fine.
To Jem, I love how our friendship is defined by two memories: me hogging a sleeping bag, and you busting your sides laughing as my fishball rolled away. I love how we can switch from utter gibberish like side eyeing OLs, to mature discussions about growing up, all within the span of one conversation. It is a relief to have someone who understands that exuberance can coexist with stillness. Your twinkle friend would like to thank you for showing her that you can be loud and full of nonsense, and still appreciate the value of quiet moments alone.
To Kent, you are always so much fun to be around. You teach me never to take life too seriously. Heck, to not even take myself too seriously. Perhaps I will never be able to understand your other world of parties and bro-hood, but thank you for still making time for these un-cool bunch of kids. I look forward to the day when you tell me girl number whatever-it-is is also girl no-more-numbers-after her. And look, I may tease you for it, but you are always welcome to take a bite off my food.
To Koi, strangely enough, it is you of all people who get two of my biggest pains. The first is all the aches and bumps of a long-term long distance relationship. And second, the regret of not attending a college overseas. You understand the feeling of yes, these decisions were right in the long haul, but no, the pang of wondering what could have been otherwise never quite goes away. In any case, I hope the Canadian experience is every bit as wonderful as it seems. Can you feel my jealousy from the ten thousand miles away?
To Chun, first things first. Happy Birthday fellow October baby! I am glad to see you figuring out what kind of person you want to be. You have come a long way, although you will always be an oddball, that’s for sure. But even as people come and go from your life, I hope your faith and values will keep you steady. Stay brilliant, stay humble, and I am incredibly excited to see what that brain of yours will accomplish in the coming years.
To Ben, I love your approach to life – mellow yellow about most things, but you also have the capacity to get shit done. You are such a genuine person and that authenticity is something that I really respect. It has been wonderful seeing you around school, just because the anxieties of being in university still gets to me and it is such a relief to see a familiar face. Even though you always miss the group gatherings, know that you are always very much missed!
So friends, here is my birthday letter to you. In the same way that some people always get a little drunk on their birthdays, I always get a little emotional. But hey, you know you love me anyway.