Birthday celebrations the icing on cake upon return home to Johor

Ms Patsy Chua with her two daughters, Charisse Tai and Cahlista Tai, waiting to board the bus at Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange on Nov 29, 2021. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Assistant manager Patsy Chua, 43, will be celebrating three birthdays with her family in Muar, Johor, in December.

This is the first time she will be reunited with her four siblings and parents since the Covid-19 movement control order kicked in on March 18 last year.

As her younger daughter Cahlista's birthday falls on Dec 11, and her father and brother were both born in the same month, the family have decided to throw a steamboat dinner and bake three cakes next week.

Ms Chua said: "Our family is very close. Two years ago, we would go back once every three weeks.

"We'll be back until Dec 19, but we will probably just stay home. We don't really plan to go out, we just want to spend as much time together (as we can)."

It has been a difficult journey back home for Ms Chua and her two daughters Cahlista, seven, and Charisse, 10. Her husband could not join them as his job does not allow him to go on extended leave.

Ms Chua spent almost 12 hours trying to buy tickets from Transtar Travel's online portal when sales started on Nov 25 at 8am.

When she reached Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal in Johor Baru at 9.10am last Monday (Nov 29), she found out that one of her fellow passengers had tested positive for Covid-19 in an on-arrival antigen rapid test.

Despite these nerve-rattling moments, Ms Chua is grateful to be home. "My parents told me, if it's so troublesome, I don't have to come back," she said.

But she added: "My older daughter has been practising the Happy Birthday song since August. She just wants to sing this song for her sister and grandfather."

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