I officially started at the age of sixteen, maybe slightly earlier than that. But my childhood did involve days when my grandmother would pass her “Victorian Bitter” and let me get a taste of the heavenly bitterness that I’d slowly come to appreciate.
High school back in Burma involved days spent at beer gardens and sipping away chilled “Tigers” and “Myanmar” beers while relaxing over loud and cheerful conversations of nonsensical things. Was it Valentines Day where a group of us spent chugging away our dateless sorrows only to sing some stupid song of watermelons, bananas, cherries, and rambutans. If only you knew what we were referring to in our tipsy states.
Then came my 18th birthday and my first bottle – “Malibu”. I can still taste the coconut rum that made me spill tears over trivial matters. That year was all about exploring different alcohol and learning the adverse effect of hard liquor – that you’re not always going to feel bubbly and extra cheerful.
In fact, in that year, I was rewarded with my very first hangover after drowning myself in soju, whisky and vodka all in one night. Not a very smart thing to do because all memories of that night were completely wiped away the next morning. I could only trust the words of those who were with me on the occasion and, boy, things did not sound too pleasant. The recount involved a toilet bowl, vomit and lots of crying. Sounds like a description of a drunken teen in a movie who is found with her head in a toilet bowl and a blackened face from her runny mascara.
GASP. NEVER AGAIN.
Back then I didn’t particularly enjoy whisky, but there were so many late nights that involved a gathering of friends all downing mixtures of whisky and coke, or whisky and soda. Those days I was drinking more for the sake of company than myself. I also learnt that once I started drinking, I couldn’t stop. Alcohol in your body just makes you want to drink more alcohol.
Days of losing a mobile phone, failing a breath test at home and worrying parents were all because of too much drinking. Even on the night Cyclone Nargis hit, I was out late having farewell drinks with friends. Came home by cab, oblivious to the fact that there was a giant storm brewing outside, that is, trees up rooting, electricity poles snapping in two and billboards flying, oh, and that I was suppose to leave for Singapore the following day (though it didn’t happen because the airport got closed).
Singapore also brought along with it new drunken adventures including slapping friends at a BBQ, crying after seeing a homeless man and declaring life being oh-so unjust, chasing frogs on all fours, dancing like nobody’s watching, or in my case, like everybody’s watching , and video interviewing a certain important figure with an hour of sleep and a big fat bloody hangover early in the wee hours. Looking back, I do have plenty to tell my children, or grandchildren if I survive the next ten years of life.
But into my early 20s and less drunken, irresponsible, crazy moments. Drinking became a mean of unwinding over stressful assignments and work, and bonding. An occasional beer was nice with a group of friends, either at a bar enjoying live-band, or sitting around and just talking away about life, school, relationships, or whatever else that came to mind.
Good beer, good food, good company.
It’s nicer this way too. Sometimes it only takes a few drinks to help push things into a whole new perspective, especially when everyone is relaxed. It gets people talking and gives an insight to a person’s hidden side when they’re left unguarded.
I’ve seen an uptight person, feel at peace. I’ve seen a happy person shed tears. I’ve seen hidden thoughts, expressed. I’ve seen loud people go quiet, quiet people go loud. I’ve heard all sorts of nonsense. I’ve experienced all of the above.
I can only end off with one note.
We love our beer, we love our liquor, but most of all we love each other 😉
So how did your experience start?