I Owe You A 生日快乐, 小南


130113-02Nina had her first birthday party last weekend. She enjoyed the attention and lots of love in the air. Nicolas made a fabulous cake (perhaps the best ever, and trust me, he makes good cakes). Then we all started to sing ‘happy birthday to you …’

That’s where and when the problem was.

Among all the people, I, someone who fiercely believes in bringing up a multilingual child, sang in English. Not in Chinese. Not 生日快乐。

In a split second it crossed my mind when I started to sing that maybe I should sing in Chinese. After all, I have done this in Chinglish, while celebrating members’ birthday. After all, I started a bilingual toastmaster’s club.

Yet I sang ‘Happy birthday to you …’ with all our friends. With Nina in my arm. Perhaps it’s because my mouth acted faster than my brain. Perhaps I wasn’t sure it was a socially acknowledged act. Perhaps I was simply having doubts on myself.

The party has been over for days. Life goes on. Nina smiles, laughs and cries. Yet I cannot help but continuing asking myself, what was happening. And more so, what I can do differently later on.

I decided I owe her a song of 生日快乐。 On her actual birthday, she will hear a 生日快乐 song, from her mother who has been thinking and learning all the way.


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