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Pleasant things are around us if we care to notice
GOING UPMARKET: Kampung fare is now five-star
AT a recent wedding reception, the pleasant and young member of parliament for Labis extricated himself from a conversation group and hurried over to my table, smiling.
We had not met after he was elected some years ago, so it was nice to be able to chat with him over things and to renew our acquaintance.
It was also reassuring to know that he had not changed and still thought I was important enough a person to come to.
I needed that for I was and am still struggling to get over the attitude of others, especially those who had questioned as to why a medical doctor, a rakyat on duty, should be sitting together with VIPs in the main hall of Istana Negara during the installation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong recently.
My brain just could not find anything wrong with that, especially when he was also providing cover for all, including the MP himself.
In my opinion, the good doctor was also a very important person during the occasion, if an explanation is at all needed.
I admit I am biased. I am just so used to having the reassuring presence of a medical orderly close to us in all of our operations and other activities in the past. And they had performed admirably to attend to any ailment or injury befalling any one of us.
They were always quick to come the minute someone were to scream for the "medic", even if it was in the middle of a firefight. And I can identify many who are until today eternally thankful for their swift response and aid.
But the most pleasant thing during the grand "late tea" wedding function was to encounter steamed tapioca with grated coconut, palm sugar and sambal on the menu, which by the way, was mainly made up of our traditional and local delicacies.
The only exception was maybe the mushroom soup.
I thought it was especially nice for the successful corporate host to have ubi kayu for the VVIPs and all the guests, and in a five-star hotel at that.
Whatever his reasons for having the type of menu served, I found it to be wonderful, appetising and filling enough.
It struck a chord in me. It reminded me of my childhood days when we were often served boiled ubi kayu for breakfast or in the afternoon, sometimes with grated coconut and sugar, and, yes, occasionally with left-over sambal.
When stomachs were hungry, this was really a nice eat. However, when it became almost staple diet, we got to dislike it sometimes and craved for slices of bread with kaya or sweet buns the Indian vendor had in the huge round basket on his bicycle.
I am certain that many can similarly relate to my experience.
Ubi kayu was frequently and cheaply available then, along with ikan bilis (anchovies) and ikan kembong.
These were often part of the diet of kampung folk and low-wage earners of those days, unfortunately becoming things associated with being at the bottom of the economic ladder.
Some of those better off and also mothers-in-law would frequently chide others for being only able to provide their family ubi kayu, ikan bilis or ikan kembong in their meals.
It, therefore, is some small vindication and victory to know that nowadays, ikan bilis has become something served in five-star hotels, that grilled ikan kembong is an expensive delicacy at seafood restaurants, and that ubi kayu is still served in grand wedding receptions in the city.
How wonderful it is to notice the pleasant things that are around us and how so called unfortunate matters will turn around for the better sometimes and somehow.