98 of 100 Happy Days: Potong Ice Cream

Potong Ice Cream, or ‘Aiskrim Potong’, is a traditional local snack. ‘Potong’ means ‘cut’ in Malay, so they are literally blocks of cut ice cream. They usually come in flavours such as red bean, sweet corn, durian, yam and cendol, with a creamy texture from coconut milk.

Potong Ice Cream is one of my parents’ more popular childhood snacks, but my generation love them too. My cousins and I used to have them when we wanted inexpensive, yummy ice cream.

Not everywhere sells these anymore, so it’s always a joy to have find them and slurp on some sweet, icy nostalgia.

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Curing Fever with ‘Friends’

I got a fever recently. Bubbled throughout the day and finally hit the jackpot at night. This is more weird than it is annoying, because I’ve not gotten one in a while. That’s good, I know – I’m not complaining. It  just strangely reminded me of when I was much younger. A twisted bit of nostalgia, if you may.

You see, I tended to be on the sickly side as a child. My grandfather used to worry and made countless trips to the clinic. My parents always had the right prescriptions in the fridge. My grandmother took  a more traditional approach; she would boil an egg, stick a coin into it, wrap it in a handkerchief and rub it over my forehead, stomach and back. Apparently, it gets rid of ‘heatiness’. Some people say that after the treatment, the yolk or the coin would change in colour to show that certain toxins have been removed, although I cannot say that I’ve ever seen that. I just enjoyed the comfort.  I’d get better as well but I could never tell which did the trick.

What I am sure of are these: I’m not a fan of medicines, hospitals are scary (oh yes, I’ve been hospitalised once), skipping school or anything else is not an option (for me, at least), and prolonged self-pity doesn’t do anything to help.

Eventually, feverish spells would only warrant a ‘there it goes again’ from me. Many occasions still remain unaccounted for because I didn’t fancy a paracetemol. I had a different kind of remedy growing up, which was how I chose to cure myself last night.

I had a lovely warm bath, wrapped myself up in a thin blanket to keep my shivers to a minimum without becoming too warm, kept my forehead cool with a wet towel (as you do), and watched ‘Friends’. I have many memories watching ‘Friends’ in a queasy state. I don’t know how – it could be the sporadic laughter it induces – but I always felt much better the following day. Last night was probably also aided by the fact that I had the longest sleep I’ve had in ages.

Keep-Calm-and-Watch-Friends

Original image found here.

In any case, it doesn’t happen as often anymore. Not only do I feel much better now, I’m thinking of rewatching ‘Friends’ again. Funny way of getting back into a childhood fad.

#5 The Child Who Saw

Written as part of NaPoWriMo Challenge 2013

A little different from my other poems so far, but I quite enjoyed writing it on the train yesterday (started it then and finished it this morning). 

This man, I swore,
Was everywhere
But Mama told me
No one was there.

I first saw him
When I was three.
He took a man
Then waved at me.

Appeared again
When I was four.
He took a girl
And left once more.

He never spoke
Though I could tell
The man in dark suit
Knew me well.

At five when Papa
left for war
I swore he showed up
More and more.

Still Mama told me
No one was there
Although I saw him
Everywhere.

He did not smile
When doing rounds
He took the lot
On hospital grounds.

At times I thought
The man seemed sad.
Suppose he thought his
Trade too bad?

At six an officer
Came by –
Spoke sombre words.
Made Mama cry.

And I knew what
The man had done,
He’d taken them all
One by one.

And one by one
The man will take.
He made them sleep
And never wake.

So everyday
All through my life,
I knew all moments
Were rare and rife.

And though I saw him
Everywhere
I told my Mama
No one was there.

One day he stole her –
Won’t let me follow.
Left me alone
To soothe my sorrow.

The man would always
Have his way.
My love gave life;
He took away.

I couldn’t blame him.
(Perhaps I should)
I knew he wouldn’t
If he could.

He never touched
My other three.
At least I had
A family.

He visits grew shorter
And no longer grim.
I knew I would wait
Long for him.

He came when I was
Old and wan.
Said ‘Hi’ and we
Left hand in hand.