Where you at this festive season?
(a) Australia;
(b) Malaysia;
(c) Singapore;
(d) A remote deserted island far from prying family and random family friends.

If you've chosen option (d) this holiday season, then hats off to you for your prudent self-preservation.

Due to my olds moving back to Melbourne come mid-Jan (thus, the need to visit them before they jalan), and a cousin's wedding just after the new year, I'm typing this column from option (b). Translation: Surrounded by fierce family interrogators with no concept for personal space or privacy.

How does one survive this royal inquisition? By following the truth and wisdom as expounded by Ava Ryan — the precocious daughter of Katie Ryan from Vine — to these top 5 sneaky questions.

5. Do you have a 'friend' at the moment?
Instigator: Dad
Insinuation: Why the heck are you still single?
The Ava Ryan response: Inject with copious amounts of sarcasm — "Hello friend! Hello friend! Friend? Friend? Friend!"

4. Why don't we have dim sum with Aunty Janice and her daughter?
Instigator: Grandmother
Insinuation: Let me set you up with a girl that I have pre-screened and approved.
The Ava Ryan response: In this case, what to tell your blind date — "Just go live your life and be single. Just go boyfriend store. Or be single."

3. Do you like your present?
Instigator: Family friends that you have to call 'aunty' or 'uncle'.
Insinuation: Where's my Christmas present? It better be good, otherwise I'm going to (not so subtly) complain to your parents.
The Ava Ryan response: That is, the appropriate gift for someone you truly treasure — "I care about you. Here's some pine cones on a stick. Ahh... it's... they're lovely."

2. Did you know that your cousin is now expecting a second child?
Instigator: Mother
Insinuation: I want to meet my grand children before I die. Hurry up and procreate.
The Ava Ryan response: On living your own life — "I just don't care what people think. I just farted, I'm sorry."

1. Are you really happy in your job?
Instigator: Parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles (that is, the whole mob)
Insinuation: Don't you regret leaving your law job for a career in fashion publishing?
The Ava Ryan response: Aka, the best way to leave any awkward situation — "I gotta go home, because I forgot to vacuum my room. I'll be back."

Check back every Monday for another @MusingMutley column from Norman Tan, Editor-in-Chief of Buro 24/7 Singapore. For more columns from @MusingMutley, click here.

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