Lifestyle

When ang moh met Ah Ma

This year was the first time Mike Kasem celebrated Chinese New Year.

It is also the first time that he met girlfriend Mindy Chia's family after almost a year of dating.

So what does an "ang moh" do?

Research, practice, research and more practice.

He still ended up calling Miss Chia's grandmother "ah huat" instead of "Ah Ma" before quickly correcting himself.

The phrase Miss Chia was trying to teach him was "Ah Ma gong xi fa cai, huat huat ah!" (Mandarin for "Grandmother, here's wishing you prosperity and good luck").

Kasem still managed to charm her family at her grandmother's house last Friday, the first day of Chinese New Year, because the old lady saw the humour in the situation and laughed it off.

He said: "Mindy was definitely worried about how that would go, but it turned out well.

"I did my research about Chinese New Year so I knew I had to wear something colourful, thus I chose a pink shirt and blue pants.

"I also received my first hongbao - in fact, I got so many of them.

"It was hilarious when some of the younger, married relatives had to give Uncle Mike hongbao. I am almost twice their age."

BONDED WITH DAD

Kasem said that he wasn't nervous at all about meeting the family and had a nice chat with Miss Chia's dad.

The two men bonded over football, especially when the topic of Kasem's favourite EPL team Liverpool came up.

If he had any reservations about Miss Chia being too shy when they first met, they are a thing of the past now.

What surprised him was that she is actually the loudest member of her family.

He said: "I had the chance to see Mindy's old room and was tickled when I saw that she still had cassettes (of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wilson Phillips and Take That) in there.

"I teased her about them and am glad that she surprises me the more I get to know her.

"I like to think that for her, I can be that romantic guy in the movies."

Miss Chia said that Kasem was a hit with her family and they found him "nice and cute".

They even invited him for another Chinese New Year dinner on Feb 7 which this year in Chinese tradition denotes everyone's birthday.

She said: "They like it especially when he speaks Mandarin to them. My family is open-minded so they are okay with me dating an 'ang moh'.

"I'm happy that everything has fallen into place."