Yes, I’m back….after, oh my goodness, I can’t even remember when I stopped blogging and to be honest, I did not miss it. But now that I am without a job and sitting at home 24/7 filling my time playing Scrabulous, Word Twist and Bejeweled (just to keep my brains active) on Facebook, I find that I may be suffering from RSI. When I mentioned this to lau ang, he suggested I do some reading, learning online, etc. So, today, I thought I’d give it a go on my blog.
Being on my own, I tend to just end up either having nothing for lunch or the extreme opposite which could be two big bowls of noodles or a whole plateful of sushi which is equivalent to 2 cups of rice!!
Today, I decided to cook this very easy vegetarian noodles as I love the crunch of the beanshoots against the soft texture of the noodles. As I was cooking this dish, I started to reminisce of days gone past.
When I was a little girl, nearly every Saturday was spent at my maternal grandmother’s house, we called Teluk Pulai! While my mum sat around the table with her siblings enjoying their mahjong game, all of us cousins would busy ourselves with games such as hantu kana (is that how you spell it?), hide and seek, catching, hopscotch. The best time for me was to be able to walk across the road to Ah Pek’s little sundries shop and many a times, spending .5 cents on ‘tikam’. The whole day would see us eating anything from char kueh teow from kueh teow Ah Pek, my sister’s favourite poh piah from poh piah Ah Pek, rojak to mee goreng or mee rebus from the Indian shop.
But Ah Kam Cheh’s noodles was many a times a well loved dish for me because you could never get it anywhere else. It was just noodles and lots of beanshoots and the sauces to go with this dish was hoisin (tim cheong) and chillie sauce. Ah Kam Cheh wore her black trousers and plain coloured top, her pointed straw hat and would carry this heavy load consisting of noodles, tong sui and assorted sauces hooked on a strong wooden rod balanced across her shoulders. She would walk the length and breadth of Teluk Pulai shouting, “Mai fun mein, hung tau sui, lek tau sui”!
Just reminscing about this now brought a tinge of sadness to me. I never questioned her poverty. How did people like her ever survived having to rent her little bedsitter (a part of my grandmother’s property), pay all her utility bills? What would happened when she was sick? Who would care for her? That would have been a day of lost income for her.
You will never see such hard working people like Ah Kam Cheh and people in the likes of her. All these ladies travelled afar from China to have a better life in Malaysia, worked hard and sent most of their hard earned income to their families in China. Some do make it and some don’t. Many ended up being maids with affluent families and they were well taken care of. They have links with a few (support group) whom they travelled together in their journey from China. Why did Ah Kam Cheh not work with an affluent family whereby she would then have no need to burden herself daily with her ‘load’ on her shoulders? Food for thought!