What A Dead Goose Taught Me

It’s the last day of the year.
And like most people, I tend to get a little reflective as the year ends. It’s a good time to take stock of what I’ve been up to, for the past 12 months.
It’s also time to look forward and be excited about what’s arriving in the next 12 months.
Do you get a little misty-eyed like me too?
Call it my Piscean tendencies but I do love looking back and hugging the memories of the year that had just whittled by.
I always believe that if you’re alive and kicking, you should always contemplate a little and be aware of your actions of the past year. I love doing this because by nicely wrapping up the year, I can be proud of my little achievements and milestones before I head on out to create even bigger, better ones in 2012.
I would feel incomplete and naked if I entered 2012 without doing so. Because as someone said, a life well lived is a life worth journalling about. As you can see, I’m all for shutting chapters properly. (You should see my stack of journals over the years. They’re full of my ups and downs in life. Sometimes I get worried. What if these get into the wrong hands and people make up perceptions of me based on my emotional outpouring?)
As I near my 40s (I still can’t believe I have 2 years before the BIG Four O), I get even more pensive and reflective. Perhaps mortality is getting its foot into my thoughts. Perhaps I need to really get going on the bucket list.
What a dead goose taught me
My “siew ngor peih” (roast goose drumstick) story comes to mind.
Many years ago, Nic and I were in Petaling Street where we decided to buy some “siew ngor” or roast goose. The famous Petaling Street stall doesn’t sell a quarter goose or quarter duck so we had to buy half a goose.
We took this prized half back to our hotel room to savour.
The best in this case was the drumstick portion of the roast goose (after all it was half a goose so it came with its drumstick intact). I grew up with this idea that you always save the best for last.
I told Nic that I must have the best for last so we ate the rest of the roast goose.
Unfortunately it was half a goose – actually it was a LOT of GOOSE so by the time we finished 80% of the fowl, we were both completely full. We couldn’t even bear to look at the fat, juicy drumstick.
Maybe we leave it for tomorrow? I ventured. I was already too full to move, what more eat more goose.
We both decided that was the best plan.
Which turned out to be such a crappy plan because the next morning, I woke up with a slight fever and a sore throat. Which meant, I couldn’t eat the best bit of the goose – its drumstick!
Nic who is strong as a horse didn’t have any sickly symptoms from gorging on goose the day before. He then ate the roast drumstick as his breakfast!
It was pure agony for me (also, being sick made it worse!).
So what exactly did a dead goose teach me?
It taught me that if I really enjoyed/appreciated something, I might as well enjoy and appreciate it at the beginning instead of waiting till the end. The good stuff may be worth waiting for but there’s no cardinal rule saying you HAVE to antagonize yourself with the wait (which can be endless sometimes).
I know most people won’t philosphise over some dead poultry and concoct some rule for living.
But I take life lessons pretty damn seriously so that roast goose drumstick taught me that if I want to live life or do things I wanna do, there’s no better time than right here, right now.
Don’t ever wait for tomorrow for who knows, it may never arrive. (Mortality is no laughing matter these days. I’ve heard of 30-somethings get aneurysm, for god’s sakes.)
I’m not asking you to live with abandon but to live with enthusiasm and take each day as a starting point for the dreams of your life.
Resolutions, promises, commitments – whatever you choose to call it, in the end it is the story of your life. How do you want your life story to be recounted?
Happy New Year to all of you who read this blog. Thank you for reading!

Voltaire quote
Wonderfully sound advice from Voltaire. Taken at MUJI Hong Kong during our trip there in March this year

4 thoughts on “What A Dead Goose Taught Me”

  1. Dear Maya,
    I’ve always enjoyed reading your blog as it always leaves me with something to think about. I, like you, always believed in leaving the best for last but with your dead goose story i may have to learn to live like today is my last day.
    Wishing you a Happy New Year.

    • Hi Kristen: Thank you. Sometimes my blog gives me something to think about too…. 😉 I re-read old entries and go, wow. I didn’t know I thought that way about some things in life. Thank you for reading. Yes, I always think of my roast goose drumstick story whenever I think of saving the best for last. Maybe there is no “last” in life. Happy New Year! Come back soon!

  2. Saving the best for last is actually us taking things for granted that whatever we are saving for will still be there whenever we are ready. But unfortunately, many things in life do not last that long, or wait for us to be ready.
    Like your roasted goose story.

    • Thanks Pelf. As I approach my birthday, I start to feel that I ought never to take things for granted any more. I should start doing the things I really want to, as opposed to other things. My roasted goose story is a reminder to myself – and if it helps you and makes you chuckle while remembering how to do the best first, eat the best first….I shall be most gratified. Your 2011 was amazing. I loved it that you spoke at TEDxKL. Must’ve been such a blast! Nerve-wracking yes but a blast. And you will go down in history as the turtle lady if you don’t mind that moniker!


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