Allan celebrates his 40th

“What gift should you present a man who has everything on his 40th birthday?” I asked myself when I received the invitation from Allan Fernandez. I mulled on this for a few days and even before I came up with any possible gift ideas, I replied him, “Thanks for your invite – I will be there.”

Allan Fernandez, who thinks he's
Chewbacca, wielding a light sabre
Days passed swiftly with me glued to my desk, working hard to meet deadlines and I almost forgot about the birthday party until Aidah prompted me with a text message. I was at my desk when I reached for my phone and read, “Eh, are you invited to Allan’s birthday party tomorrow?”

This took my eyes and thoughts off the computer screen to focus on the million dollar question I had pondered upon since that day I received his invitation. I was not surprised when Aidah confessed that she shared the same dilemma and as we chatted about this, I assured her that we will come up with something suitable real soon.

In the past few years, Allan had become synonymous with the destination we used to know as EightLido because he was the driving force behind its creation. I had the privilege of being there at its early stage when the restaurant served a range of exciting tapas in a setting reminiscent of a Spanish casa.

Since 2011, the garden setting at Eight gained the enviable reputation as the destination which is more than just a restaurant. It was a special place where marriage proposals were made and accepted, where garden weddings were held and the place where Johoreans were proud to host their guests.

Allan and Miin with Aidah and I, and our gift to them
Allan was always a good host who not only shared some exciting meals at Eight with me over our chats about the JB we love, he also generously shared some of his prized collection of single-malts with me!

Eight was the venue for some of the most interesting and entertaining shows Johor Baru had ever seen – and which guests still talk about – and I had an unforgettable front-row experience in the no-holds-barred comedy of the incomparable Kumar.  This was probably the final show held there before the curtains came down on Eight.

Looking back, it looks like Eight was probably where friendships were made to last. So when Allan wed Miin, I too had a memorable experience, sharing their beautiful wedding story and their awesome black-tie banquet.

Allan blowing out his candles in one breath!
I snapped out of this pleasant reverie because thoughts about Eight still did not answer that important question about what gift we should present to a 40-year old who is about to become a first-time father!

I thought Allan, the cool guy with a great sense of humour, should be presented with a novelty that comes from our hearts – something that you can’t buy off the shelves – something custom-made for him…

I guessed some guests would bake or buy him a birthday cake so I decided to take my fun idea to my baker friend at Passionfood Café & Bakery and get her to create it for me.

At first she was apprehensive: “What? Decorate one cupcake?”

Allan cutting his cakes in one stroke!
I told her no, not one but one for dad, one for mum and one for the baby-on-the-way.

The idea was for the much-anticipated little one to celebrate along with his (it’s a boy!) dad’s 40th birthday and they should take the cupcakes home to enjoy!

Once the baker understood my idea, she asked me for facial description like, “Wear specs?” So I gave her specific details like dad is Indian bald/botak and mum is sweet, fair Chinese with long hair, so the baby should be, latte colour…?

Her reply was instant: “Is it Allan Fernandez?” she quizzed! Ah! Spot on with her guess!

When she knew who the recipient was, my baker was confident that the design should work well – even to minute details like facial features, hair and skin tone.  When I collected it, I saw that the results were more than satisfactory.

Our custom-made gift to the man who has everything
on his 40th birthday!
Carefully balancing the cake box in my hand, Aidah and I arrived at the party, hosted at Magnum Sports Cafe, Puteri Harbour.  

A glance at the backdrop design reminded me that Allan is a serious Star Wars buff who thinks that he’s (ahem!) Chewbacca – I suppose, the version with less hair!

As always, our big-hearted Allan hosted an exciting party with good food and great company from his huge network of friends.

When it was time to cut his birthday cake – it turned out that he had five cakes – not counting our three little cupcakes!

Brandishing light sabres with blinking lights, we sang a rousing “Happy Birthday” to Allan.  With Miin and his mother by his side, he attempted to blow out all the candles on his five cakes in one breath!

He also tried to cut across all the cakes in one stroke but carefully preserved our custom-designed gift of cupcakes to quietly enjoy at home.

Happy 40th Allan, and many more birthdays to come!

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