Sunday, 22 March 2009

Poor Man's Lunch

My son is back from MMU for one-week break. So we pamper him with home-cook food as well as restaurant food. Eating the same food everyday on campus sure is boring. On the first night home, he told his sister he hadn't eaten such good food in a long time. A couple of weeks ago, a couple of students came to talk to me (actually they were redirected to me for some reason) about wanting a "career change" (change course lah!). We talked about their dissatisfactions - with the course offerings, lecturers, facilities. I then asked one of the students, given all the above, would you still choose USM to study. She didn't hesitate - she said YES. I looked at her very surprised and asked why? "Because I can get Chinese food in USM. That is very important to me because I can not eat spicy food", she replied. So, are you university administrators taking note?

So, what's this poor man's lunch? Plain porridge - just add a lot of water and some rice to a big pot and let in boil until rice is soft (up to you how soft you want it). No salt, nothing. Two salted eggs, 70 sens each nowadays. Fried fish - the fish was bought at the wet market yesterday for RM6.00. Bean sprout (tau geh), 50 sen - pluck the roots and get rid of the bean shells (this is the time consuming part but it makes the dish more attractive). And optionally some toufoo, 2 pieces, 30 sen each. Two eggs, what, 40 sens each - fried with half a large onion and 4 ladies finger (ocra). Ladies finger is free because it comes from my backyard - totally organic. My first harvest of home-grown organic vegetates. Yippee.

This is what our Chinese ancestors used to eat - simple and cheap. I am sure one day some enterprising businessmen are going to open up a Poor Man's Lunch Shop and charge RM2o per head for the nostalgia. As kids, I remember we used to grumble a lot - porridge day-in and day-out. Morning porridge before school. Come back porridge again for lunch. Now, we really enjoy these simple things in life.

Now for some publicity on the public dialogue on whether "to ban or not to bag plastic bags". I will be having my 20 minutes of fame, so come and join us. You can pretty much guess what I will be talking about - "Choosing a greener lifestyle". If you want an alternative view, the plastic manufacturers will be there if you are interested to hear why plastic bags (or all things plastics) are good and safe for humans (and the environment?).

It's being organised in conjunction with World Environment Day. Seems kinda early to "celebrate" - I thought World Environment Day is in June. It's an excellent effort by the State Government but I have told them that the first thing they can and should do is to issue a directive to all government departments and agencies to stop using polystyrene containers for official functions. The response - ah, emmm, uhhh ...

Below is a photo I took of a PBA family event held at the MengKuang Dam on the 7th March 2009. My wife had ajak (invited lor) me for a morning walk at the reservoir and it is a very nice place where many people go to exercise. And you can see signs everywhere telling people not to do this and that - no swimming, no littering; call us if you see anyone dumping stuff. All well and good and then as we walked further we saw people feeding the fishes in the reservoir (should they be allowed to do that?). And then we came across an family event with a big banner saying it is one of the staff associations of the Penang Water Authority (PBA). From far away I could "smell" the polystyrene containers. And my wife and I sighed!

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