Be your own guest

Sunday July 26 2020


By Stella Riunga

If you grew up in the times that I did, then you knew that one of the most serious offences you could ever commit at home was using the cups/plates/spoons/place mats reserved for guests. If you were in a suicidal mood, you could eat any part of a meal that had been specially prepared for guests. Oh to be a guest! There was no higher honour.

Chickens were slaughtered, the aroma of pilau and chapati filled the air and everyone had to be on their best behavior.

There were even mandazis for tea. Let us not forget that back then, before second-hand clothes came and flooded the market, new clothes were only acquired for special occasions: Easter, Christmas, special family events and so on.

And then Coronavirus descended on us. Easter came and went, and we stayed home. Even those who hang themselves on crosses during Easter (I gather this is common in The Philippines) had to stay home and crucify themselves from there.

Those of us who have had birthdays marked the day staring at the same four walls and the same people we have been staring at since March. It looks like we will be having a social-distanced Christmas as well.
Now that there are no guests to be had, it is time to enjoy the wonderful things we put aside for them. Use your delicate ‘special’ plates and spoons every day.

Those dainty cups that hold no more than 10 drops of tea at a time should be used at breakfast. That special perfume that cost you half a kidney—why don’t you use it after your bath? After all, what was the point of buying it? Dress your children in their Sunday best on random days of the week—before they outgrow their clothes.


One of these days, I might casually saunter into my sitting room wearing my wedding dress, because when will I ever get the chance to wear it again, lovely as it is. I might even persuade my husband to wear his wedding suit and order a wedding cake to enjoy for lunch.
Be your own guest this weekend.