North & South

WHEN THE TURKEY HITS THE FAN

2007 – Jean Teng:

I grew up without any Christmas tradition. I never believed in Santa, our closest extended family was 8891km away, and I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to pine trees. My parents observed the holidays with the lackadaisical attitude of non-religious Asian migrants raising Western-assimilated kids. That is, they asked me what I wanted, bought it while I was in the store, wrapped it up, and shoved it under a plastic tree in the name of Christmas. I knew what all my presents were from the age of five. We ate boring, everyday meals on Christmas day.

However, I consumed Western media and its saccharine Hallmark holiday movies with fervour, obsessed with the thought of whole roast turkeys and silky mashed potato. The tables in these movies always looked heaving. With what, I wasn’t sure – I hadn’t grown up on that type of food, and it all looked alien and delicious. That must be the true meaning of Christmas, I thought. Unnervingly beautiful food someone spent the whole day cooking that was devoured over tense,

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