Comeback Kids: What to say when aunties come attacking

Comeback Kids: What to say when aunties come attacking

Auntie ammunition

Text: Adibah Isa

Image: Getty Images

A Chinese New Year guide to surviving your random auntie

We've heard it all before. Like a broken record, each Chinese New Year goes by like most extended family gatherings do. You enter a relative's home in your best-dressed ensemble, make a beeline for the buffet or dining table and then cosy up to your favourite cousin. Eyes are glued onto screens, be it television or mobile. Occassionally, a cute dog comes to play, or a newborn steals the show. But once everyone has put up their feasting feet up and take the little ones out of the equation, you'd best be armed: The aunties are coming.

While small talk at social events can be painful, nothing can quite compare to the savageness that has escaped from many an auntie's lips. Here are some memorable phrases the Buro 24/7 Singapore team has encountered over the years, along with suggested comebacks.


1. "This woman went to my mother going, 'Is this your unmarried daughter?' at the buffet line. Haven't gotten my food, but already got bashed."
Comeback: "I'm hopeless and awkward and desperate for love!", hoping that they'll get the Friends reference (the one where Chandler wants Janice to choose him instead of her ex).
What you should actually say: "I'm focusing on building my career, auntie, which is what you should have done 20 years ago".

2. "So old already still need to give you angpow?"
Comeback: "Mo money, mo problems..."
What you should actually say: "Yes, I'm still paying off my student loans which got me to where I am today."

3. "These young people don't know how to appreciate good food."
Comeback: "I'll only eat it if it's served on a wooden board with shaved gold dust."
What you should actually say: "I'm watching what I eat lah auntie."

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4. "What are you wearing? Why your makeup so much? Why your hair this colour? Aiyoh, so horrid!"
Comeback: "A woman should wear whatever she wants to, when she wants, and however she wants. My body my choice!"
What you should actually say: "Auntie, this style is very popular now! Go outside, and you'll see all the girls wearing this."

5. "What are you working as?" "A writer for an online publication?" "When are you going to get a real job?" 
Comeback: "Excuse you, I'm no writer. I'm a content curator."
What you should actually say: "I'm actually doing a lot of volunteer work, so this is just part-time."

Click for our complete Chinese New Year survival guide.