MALAYSIAN HAIKU/SENRYU ECHOES 559: DAWNED ON DURIANS
price and prize as king
thorny fruits in horny hands
when durians fall;
sarongs are all pawned.
lust shadows grow tall;
lights on, they are donned.
desirous or disgusting
taste is too pungent
craft durian ale
pre-biotic infused beer
offensive let go
when windows are wide opened;
bond of front door is broken.
temperance in food is bliss.
Durian (Malay: duri means thorn; an is suffix) season is on. All the three main races of Malaysia like durian generally. This should be recognized as a “national” fruit. There are no prohibitions, except over consumption. Durian, with high calorie and carbohydrate, is not recommended for diabetes (20% incidence in the nation and is on the rise), but one or two seeds are not harmful at all. It should not be taken with alcohol, even though there is no death-intoxication. The burping and farting are ferocious and embarrassing. The fruit is not allowed in the plane.
All the pictures are copied and pasted from the web.
I have attempted a new style of writing: one or two stanzas of haiku/senryu follow by four lines of free verses with end rhyme, as commentaries.
As a lay “connoisseur”, I appreciate not too much on food in fine cuisine, but expert home cuisine taste as good. There are lots of snobbishness and hassle in fine dining, besides the high cost and excess time spent in the pursuit. However, we cannot deny that culinary skill and taste are better in fine dining, subject to individual preferences. Fine cuisine is a culinary art, and all art needs skill training, knowledge (in sourcing produce, preparation etc.) and patience. In a modern age, home cooking is losing out to market forces; house wives (or husbands, for political sake) are no longer that capable any more. I have often told many house wives to hone their domestic skills, as job opportunities are getting scare and home cooking may face commercial market in a new way. One needs to be creative to cook well. Cordon beau is blue ribbons for the best in things. I love this Albanian restaurant, for they cook ordinary dishes into extra ordinary cuisine. And the chef must have love in their work to do well.
On my return from the Balkan tour on the 18th
October, my daughter from Singapore travelled all the way to celebrate my
belated birthday. In fact my nephew’s birthday fell on the same date; he was
invited to have a co celebration. He, in turn celebrated his Masters in IT, and
invited us for another dinner. So Chinese is a nationality that talks about
meals in another meal.
That’s a traditional birthday cake, with the word 寿 shou, meaning longevity; there is many smaller POW or cakes, within and without the larger ones. There is a fine longevity noodles cuisine. Fish is homophonic with excess; and with sea and land supply, there is abundant food. Finally there are vegetables, with fish mow and sea cucumber. Most importantly, a round table, implying the beginning and end are the same in our circular relates; not a rectangular or square table, where family members sit on opposite sides. I think the English or Malay educated among us have lost the flavor of good family relate; or rather, the modern semi-educated Chinese too.
One will notice there is no candle to blow; strange to blow the light of birth off!
“Fat or Fart”. There is no scientific paper to claim that fat people (high BMI) fart more than slimmer souls. We fart an average of 15 times a day, due to swallowed air (25%) and digestive food processes. We either burp from the stomach or fart from the anus.Many kinds of food causing farting, whether meat or fiber. Complex carbohydrates, such as beans, onions and cabbages, are notorious for fermenting gases, assisted by trillions of microbes in our gut. The digestive process is slow (about 40 hours) to traverse its long journey down the intestinal tract. The pertinent question should be on how we chose what we eat, and why. We are not taught well on diet and nutrition and never consider that the foods we eat are indeed medicine, relevant to health and fitness. Strange that right food is not among one of our dying regrets. The moment food enters our gut; feeling and sensation send messages straight to our brains (hippocampus).
There are only three macro nutrients to choose: carbohydrate, protein and fat and they were assign strange proportion to each category: 40%, 30%, and 30%.Food fads mainly change the ratioof each. .There is essential proteins and fat, but not in carbohydrates. We fail to look at each category in details (e.g. micro nutrients, soluble and insoluble fiber, glucose and other sugar), and completely ignore plant or vegetable based (above or below ground), nuts and fruits in each. Human consume food not just for fitness and health, but also for cultural, social reasons, personal craving, habits and routine. We allow sugary and other taste to dominate, over concern about weight, calorie and BMI. We assume we must have three or more meals a day; ignoring intermittent fasting or one meal a day.The food pyramid, farm or organic or wild, industrialized processed food, harmful additives (many are carcinogenic), or modifications (GMC) enter our food chain. The deception has become widespread; influenced by agricultural, dairy, pharmaceutical, advertising and marketing strategies, with money and gain as motive. It is time we learn and unlearn about food sciences, in the larger context of understanding inflammation, hydration, allergies, and immunology and hormone sensitivities. And how exercises, drugs, sleep and stress factor in these interactions, in insulin sensitivities.
I am a retired medical general practitioner, and admit that I learn diet and nutrition with some understanding only after my retirement, esp. after my cholecystectomy.
About two thousand trees and more shrubs are replanted in this garden. This reminded me about KLIA, Malaysia’s “Forest in an airport”. Changi was constructed from open parking land; whereas KLIA and KLIA 2 were from former agricultural land. It was voted as world’s top best airport, but KLIA was not even in the top 50.
It is indeed a mesmerizing sight, five floors above and another five floors below ground – a forty meter height. However, it is not a natural waterfall, but water fall splashing down from the vortex. In an age of machines and technology driven, we need to remain as human beings watching modern wonders. Luckily we were there before the crowd. We could see hidden conduits pipes around the circular garden, and the cascading sound of water. It was soothing and calming to seat on the terraces, with the in and out breath, with fragrance of flowers and plants impinging on the nose. Rails ferry passengers from other terminals to Jewel at Terminal 1, hopefully they can find their way back, for the signs are all in English. The night view, with the scintillating lights, and the stars above the sky, was idyllic, but I did not stay long enough to enjoy. The control tower can be seen just outside the Jewel, but does not serve as a panopticon, but CCTV cameras are everywhere for our safety. A canopy is sighted at the roof top for the kids to enjoy, with the guardians sipping their drinks. There are too many branded goods to lure the eyes and pockets. It is indeed an oasis in a cultural desert, neither east nor west. I have observed long queue (mainly the younger generations) for unhealthy western food and drinks, movies; kids reading more from western writers than their own writers or regional.
In its search for national identity, it’s strange that the leaders chose Singlish (mixture of Chinese dialects, with Malay and English) over Queen’s English, resulting in fallen standard in both English and Chinese. Despite this, this small native thrives well among its neighbours.
It is a blessing to have more than one birthday celebration per year for a person. Yesterday my daughter invited me for a belated birthday lunch at Odette.
Odette in French means wealth or rich. It brings to mind the story of the princess being transformed into a swan in the classic ballet “Swan Lake”. However, it was the name of chef’s grandmother. This Michelin two-star fine dine is located in the Art Gallery cum Supreme Court wing, Singapore.
The entrance door of the restaurant is not impressive. The décor is comfortable, with hanging cards of groceries in air. There is no expensive lightings and no dashing colours on walls to distract. The tables and seats are arranged in two or four, and cozy enough to last the long hours of dinning. The kitchen with a dozen staffs can be seen through a glass door, and the bar is also opened. On entry you are greeted by friendly and smiling waiters and waitresses, and their services are excellent. I had a four-course meal, paired well with wine, for about S 200. It’s expensive and lavish, but I doubt I would have many birthdays left for fine cuisine, with the poor dentition, slower mobility and health to enjoy.
The amuse trio and extra mushroom tea starter were eye opener; not only for gastronomic taste delight, but the art of food decoration, with construction and deconstruction, are well presented. It is also my first experience in sous vide (under vacuum) cooking, prolonged low temperature steamed or water bath, to retain texture and moisture. The Rosemary smoked organic egg (from NZ), poached at 64 C for 55 min,with smokes from dry ice was liked a staged drama, when the egg yoke was cracked into a rounded glass container, with foams and chorizo iberico, to provide a balanced biting feel in the midst of smoothness.