Feb 22, 2010


My 4th Lo Hei! (yes sir! i'm counting 4 in this sterile island state)

It is a Singapore dish that is traditionally served during Chinese New Year festivities. Families (in my case, officemates) gather together and toss up for a good fortune ahead. The higher you toss, the more luck you have.

The dish is basically a chop suey of achara-like ingredients. The non-chef in me couldn't identify the mix of shredded vegetables, sauces and other condiments. So, I consulted Mr. Wiki:

"The Singapore-originated Yusheng (Lo-hei) had fish served with daikon (white radish), carrots, red pepper (capsicum), turnips, red pickled ginger, sun-dried oranges, daun limau nipis (key lime leaves), Chinese parsley, chilli, jellyfish, chopped peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, Chinese shrimp crackers (or fried dried shrimp), five spice powder, and other ingredients, laced with a sauce using plum sauce, rice vinegar, kumquat paste and sesame oil, for a total of 27 ingredients. Originally, the dish used raw mackerel, although in deference to the popular wishes of customers, salmon was later offered as an alternative due to the growing popularity of Salmon." - from Wikipedia

Weird blend! You're like nibbling plastic strands. Pickle-like with some sweet after-taste. But with my fortune at stake, I tossed as high as I could.

Eating was a different matter. My Pinoy palate was just too picky.

Feb 17, 2010


I was rushing to catch my 6 PM train to Novena when a colleague in her late forties caught me along the frantic flow.

"On your way to the gym?"

"Nope. Catching the 6:30 mass at the Redemptorist."

"Oh! It's a holy day or something? Aaii yoh, totally forgot!"

I have no idea she is Catholic. Baptized just last year. In a society with a motley mix of culture, ethnicity and beliefs, you can't tell.


A guy named Christian is in fact Buddhist. Sulainti Binte an Indian. Tarhata a devout Christian. Vikram a Moslem. And all other fascinating permutations.

"What's the feast again?"

"Ash Wednesday."

"What's the significance? Sorry lah, I was absent when I had that lecture!"

I almost choked. Amused that even Singaporeans have that excuse.

In my Romano-esque, smart-alecky tone, "we came from dust, to dust we return!"

She had that bewildered silence. Mine a confused smugness.

I could get her puzzlement. What? Just like that? Mere dust! Nothing great? Thought God created us in his image. Something special! The fuss then?

Geez! I could see the eyes. I could hear the taunt. Ms. Romano was back!

"Errr, reminds us of our mortality. Start of Lent, y' know!"

Bit of a tentative smile. I wonder if she will rethink her joining the flock.

"Ok lah! I go this way."

Ha! Saved not by the bell. But by the turnstile. For that, I vow no Coke and dessert for 40 days.

Have a reflective Season folks!