Les Petits Contes

About life's little observations, which matter. About hilarious situations, which illuminate. About stories which offer immense possibilities, open endings, different interpretations and perspectives.

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Location: Singapore

A nature lover; sun-worshipper, manic book-collector, dessert-devourer and a magnet for hazards

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Modern Auntie and her Collagen Noodle


Inspired by The Great Desertion over the last few days of Chinese New Year holidays, I decided to take the afternoon off work yesterday to once again savour the quiet and empty streets in town.

One whole afternoon of tranquility and calm to enjoy my own company – how marvelous! Yes, yes, after almost three years of working in a narcissistic environment dealing with self absorbed professors and equally self-centred students (and a few like minded colleagues), you can’t help behaving like them and craving your own company too – and no one else’s!

I decided to first nourish myself with a bowl of hot soup while plotting and strategizing how to outwit these cunning, power hungry, opinionated creatures at my work place.

I settled for The Eastern Restaurant at Centrepoint. A waitress showed me to a table. Soon, an out of shape woman asked if I was alone and if she could share the table with me. I nodded, but the waitress showed her to another table – phew!

I was intrigued by the ‘’special promotion’’ on the menu – collagen la mian. Ha! Haven’t I read somewhere that collagen is good for your sagging skin? Or was it ‘’soon to be sagging skin?’’ Maybe it would be good for my brain too – to help me connive and scheme at the office.

As soon as I ordered a bowl of collagen wanton noodle, I saw another out of shape woman, equally auntie-looking, being shown to another table for single diners. All around me the tables sat either couples or groups. Yes, there was another single diner, but he looked rather dishy, and certainly not out of shape, or ‘’uncle’’.

Are all single women diners aunties? Or, maybe I should put it another way – do only aunties take the day off to dine alone? What about the tai-tais? Many of them look like bored, dolled up walking billboards for a zillion brands, but I suppose they go for hi teas at The Fullerton, not the humble noodle at The Eastern Restaurant? (As for collagen fix, they could easily go to a spa for a nice facial, or a clinic for a nip and tuck?) And I don’t suppose you label them aunties, no matter how grotesque their shape or look.

Continuing on my borrowed trait of vanity, or self importance, I told myself I am no auntie, despite my age. Still, I joined the auntie brigade and relished my noodle. Relish is an exaggeration. Tolerate would be more appropriate.

The murky-looking soup was tasteless. At best, it tasted of flour. The collagen noodle was woefully insipid. Had it tasted medicinal, I might have forgiven them – after all, haven’t I read somewhere the amazing and wonderful collagen is good for aunties, I mean, women? And the wanton? Let’s just say I was grateful for the jars of chilies and vinegar and little precious shriveled shreds of ginger around the table to help me along.

The two aunties around me tucked in enthusiastically, emptied their bowls in no time and started picking their teeth in blissful satiation.

I took up the order chit at my table and went to pay at the cashier. I saw a few awards and certificates proudly displayed at the counter. One of them proclaims self righteously, ‘’healthier restaurant award – less salt, less oil…’’

And zero taste.

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