Year-end bashes to remember
Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Perhaps, but sometimes the strangest and most unusual New Years are also the most memorable. So, for auld lang syne, we took a cup of kindness to some of our favourite local personalities and asked them to share their standout New Year events with us.
The strangest New Year's Eve I can recall was during my second year in high school. Let's just say it was the late 1980s. I was 15 years old and living in Jersey City, New Jersey, where I grew up. That night, I was with some new friends who were born-again Christians. Prayer was a big part of the night, with some participants even speaking in tongues, something I had never witnessed before. I was the hapless idiot in the corner trying not to stare. I started to doubt whether this was the right crowd for me. Afterwards, we all went to New York and spent the countdown at the infamous Limelight club for a night of dancing. This was my first (of many a) night at the Limelight, which was never known for being a wholesome place, and once again I witnessed some things I had never seen before. I've always been a bit of a girl scout, so no alcohol or drugs. I got home at 7am, which set the stage for the rest of my high school outings. These were the right friends for me after all.
Eizelle Taino, owner of Indigo boutiques
On one New Year's Eve, I was celebrating at a restaurant with a bunch of friends and I decided to order a glass of red wine to accompany the countdown. I randomly chose one and it went well to welcome in the New Year. We stayed until after midnight and I ordered another glass of the same red wine. When it came to time to leave, I got my bill and noticed my second glass of the same wine cost more. I consulted my waiter, who told me that after midnight, the wine was technically one year older and had now become a 'decade-old wine' - as compared to the original, unimpressive nine-year vintage - which, according to restaurant policy, costs more. I'm happy to report that restaurant is closed now. Cheers!
Vivek Mahbubani, comedian
One of my most ridiculous New Years actually happened last year, when I was invited to be a guest at a New Year celebration show in an open-air venue in Jiangmen , Guangdong, with fellow singer Edmond Leung Hon-man and an audience of hundreds. We did the show as planned, but there were still about 15 minutes to go before the New Year countdown so the MC started to ask us some silly questions, trying to fill up time. Finally, midnight came and we did the countdown. But as soon as we finished counting down to one, everyone cheered and then the whole thing was finished. They turned off the music and we were told to leave the stage, as were the audience. Edmond asked me: 'That's it?' I replied: 'I guess so.' Then he told me that was the weirdest New Year's Eve event he has taken part in. The event made me think that people should plan what to do after the countdown. Otherwise, you will be left in that awkward situation of looking at each other with nothing better to say than repeating over and over 'Happy New Year' a hundred times.
Kary Ng Yu-fei, singer
The year was 1990 and I was resident manager of Airth Castle in Stirlingshire, Scotland, which is a majestic 14th-century hotel nestled in 5.7 hectares of wooded parkland and beautifully landscaped gardens. Two lovely sisters in their late 70s had both been long and devoted guests of the hotel. The two invited their 88-year-old brother from New York along for a grand New Year's Eve gala ball. Imagine roaring log fires, champagne, laughter, Scottish mist, a pipe band and the sisters dancing most of the night to Scottish and disco music with a lot of younger gentlemen, including your's truly, in kilts. Then at the countdown there were bells and highland dancers, and many glasses of champagne later, the sisters finally returned to their table to discover that their big brother hadn't quite made it past the New Year. With a few whiskies on hand, they did not let that dampen the mood and agreed that fairies from the castle must have taken their brother away.
Anthony Costa, general manager of Landmark Mandarin Oriental