Sunday, 19 April 2015

The appopriate gift poser and headache

For the past few days, I have been pacing up and down my garden checking at every pot of bonsai like a curious cat looking for a hidden prized rat. Not satisfied with my own judgment, I even went over to Uncle Hooi’s house this afternoon to consult the master himself. You will now be asking, what is the big deal here, Jadryn?

Oh well, it all started with a very kind and respected friend asking for a simple favor of helping her to hand deliver something to Singapore. When I went to her house to pick up the item, I found out that we share many common likings besides tea. However, there is one thing that is missing and it is bonsai! My friend then went out to tell me her likings for bonsai but she doesn’t have any experience in cultivating one. Besides that, she is not really a person with green fingers. I promised to look for a suitable plant for her as a gift and it is now the time to make good my promise.

First of all, I have to decide which type of tree that is suitable for her environment. Although juniperus chinesis is the most suitable gift for this respected friend, it is very hard to take care of the tree. Too or too little water, it turns yellow. Too much or too little sunlight, the tree will grow “candles” and before long, the whole tree became something else. Besides, my friend would prefer the plant to be placed indoor most of the time for her viewing pleasure.

A pot of Buxus sinica that is being prepared to be shaped to kengai (cascade) style.
With juniperus chinesis out of the question, I’m left with ulmus parvifolia (Chinese elm) and buxus sinica (Chinese Box) which are considered easier to take care of. However, most of the ulmus parvifolia and buxus sinica in my garden are from Uncle Hooi’s garden, therefore, they are deemed not appropriate to be selected as a gift. Those that are I cultivate myself are still at “infancy” level. Then came my another dilemma, should I give this friend a medium or small tree? Big trees are out of question as they are not easy to be carried in and out of the house.

Then came the question of how big should be the easier to move about tree so that they look nice in proportion to my friend’s house or would a small tree be easier for my friend as a start? Besides, if the small tree dies off, it won’t be much of heartache as they took between 5-8 years to cultivate and shaped compared to 20 years for a medium tree. As of writing this article, I am still undecided! After all, this is going to be a gift for a respected friend who possesses almost everything that money can buy.

Selecting an appropriate gift is always a problem that most of us face unless you know what the receiver want or the interests of the receiver. However, having said that, my colleagues and I never cease to have headache to select the right gift for our boss even though we know the few things that he is fond of, because he is another person that possess everything and we are afraid of buying the same item that he’d bought for himself or someone else bought the same item too. I think we should resort to ask his other half to be our oracle in guiding us to select the gift that he wishes to have for his upcoming birthday. (Boss, I know you’ll be reading this blog, so please don’t tell us you want a real lion from Africa!)

There are three common questions that we will often ask: Will the receiver like this gift? Is it something that the receiver need? Is there something else more appropriate than this? Thus, sometimes, when there aren’t any clues, gift cards from bookstores or departmental stores is the best present to give to a friend on important occasions. However, there goes another problem with gift cards: how much should be the value of the card? To me, giving a gift is not just an easy task of simply selecting something. It is actually an art as I want to give something meaningful that the receiver will appreciate and need.

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