Monday, December 20, 2004

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch?

But there's the occasional free breakfast! :)

*cue cheesy Hokkien song playing in background with female singer talking love-talk during the song-bridge*

As I plonked down at Bukit Merah Central hawker center this morning to quietly tuck into my bowl of hot tau huey, a hawker auntie appeared and enthusiastically but politely pushed me an innocuous packet of food in a pale blue plastic bag.

"This fried beehoon is for you - free of charge."

"Our new stall just opened," she explained in typical S'porean auntie chinese upon seeing the surprised look on my face. "Please come back & buy more if you like."

I could only stammer & smile. "Ok, thanks!"

Behind her, I spied her stall of local breakfast favourites - its bright lights & brand new banner conspicuous in the morning laziness. Most stalls were still closed.

The greasy smell of busy frying was in the air, interjected by bright clanging from the wok from within the stall.

Right in front of the stall was a table with several plastic bags of freshly fried beehoon laid out on it.

The auntie diverted her attention to other passer-bys while I focused on finishing my tau huey.

"Xiao jie, harlow! Xiao jie..."

Everyone else was just as surprised as I was and some visibly shied away from her as if she were hawking insurance or snake medicine.

Some courteously accepted but a few maintained their wariness & rejected the free breakfast even after she explained her intentions.

How odd, I thought to myself. I had believed almost any Singaporean would clamour for a free lunch. While some genuinely don't like fried beehoon, I guess most really don't believe in a such a thing as a free lunch.

In the end, my morning schedule at work only permitted me 2 bites of cold, clumpy beehoon & the rest was thrown away.

At least the sambal chilli was good.

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