August 10, 2009
Meeting a Cockroach in a Bowl of Penang Laksa
It was late on Friday night and few of the usual stalls were open. So the old couple walked hand in hand to a nice mall where the lights were bright and young teenagers were still hanging out. The old husband thought that it was good to give the wife a treat after a tiring and trying week.
The menu was written overhead and each item was very enticing. They took sometime to read as old people do and consider each item carefully and slowly. Not that they did not know what to eat. They just wanted the best and the easiest for the moment. For it was almost closing time and they had to be considerate to the servers and the cooks. You see these two old people have lived a long and hard life and they knew how difficult it was to work and earn a living.
The young girl took the order with a smile : Penang Laksa for the old lady and simple kampong fried rice for the old white haired uncle.
They both ordered teh tarik which turned out to be too sweet. But after all it was a long day for both of them and they rested for a while on the new green plastic chairs. The wife hoped that the chair would not spread out its legs and she would land on the floor as it had happened before. She was a little overweight to her own embarrassment.
The waiting was a little long and the shops all around them were all closing noisily (many thousands of decibels) as shop assistants pulled down the roller shop front aluminium doors. But they were both glad and thankful that they still had good hearing abilities.
The fried rice came first. The ikan bilis were huge and a little chewy! And the rice a little burnt. the chef must be tired after such a long day the old wife thought.
The laksa came up and it was boiling hot. There was a suspicious little piece. She took one spoon of the lovely soup and then they both checked the little suspicious piece...it was a ..a cockroach when it was spooned to the top of the soup!!
They looked at each other and decided to upset the girl at the counter.
The old lady walked with the laksa in her hand and carefully approached the counter. The girl looked at the laksa and she smiled again..."What would you like instead?" she asked as if this was a common happening.
Fried Rice. Please...and please tah pau (pack) it.
She took an extra set of fork and spoon and went back to the table. The two shared the kampong fried rice with a sigh and not speaking at all. He looked a little sad. She shook her head and said " Why does this happen to me ? And at this hour?"
But then they decided that the fried rice tasted special today because they were still lucky enough to be able to share fried rice together in spite of the heavy haze outside . And weren't they lucky to have some time together under such good air conditioning provided by the mega giant business corporation?
No she will not order Penang Laksa again..or eat late at night. In case the chef cannot see too well.
This true story is Dedicated to all the Visually Impaired People of the World.