Thursday, 24 April 2014

My grandfather and satay

The life of the death is placed in the memory of the living - Cicero

With Karpal Singh’s funeral over, the subject of a by-election in his former constituency of Bukit Gelugor quickly pop up among the topics of conversation in the office. Bukit Gelugor is a MCA contested seat since its creation in 2004 after the 2003 constituency redelineation exercise. Many were in favour of BN giving a pass to the by-election because they are in the opinion that MCA will never win the seat so there is no point wasting the taxpayer’s money.  I’m in the opinion that the decision to contest or stay out is the prerogative of the BN chairman.
The failure of MCA in the satay town of Kajang was also brought up by my colleagues and out of a sudden, we have cravings for satay. We had wanted to go to Kajang but I told them that it will be a crazy idea to go on a rainy evening. At the end, we decided to settle for the satay stall at Restoran Idaman near my house which is equally famous and above all, delicious. Haji Samuri satay house is famous too but I do not find their satay to be as delicious as the one at Restoran Idaman.
We ordered 60 skews for 4 person but one of my colleague remarked “That is a lot!” I told him that 60 for the 4 of us is not considered a lot. “Let me tell you what is call a lot…...” I told my friends.
Satay was one of my favourite food as well as my paternal grandfather’s. When I was a child, there were two Chinese stalls that sell chicken and pork satay in Teluk Intan. One was based at Jalan Ah Cheong below Kim Leng Café while the other is a Chinese lady in a motorbike with makeshift charcoal grille based at Poh Long Restaurant. On some weekends, our family will have seafood dinner at Poh Long and grandfather will never fail to order skews of satay for our snack before the main course.
However, there is one thing about satay that my cousins and I will never forget. More than often, in our conversation about food, my cousins will reminisce about grandfather, the huge amount of food that he will always order and the number of skews of satay. 
On some nights, my grandfather will ask if I want to have satay for supper. I will say yes and my grandfather will drive me and my grandmother to the stall at Jalan Ah Cheong. Upon reaching there, he will tell the satay man: “100 skews, tapau (take away).” Or sometimes it will be more, depending on his mood. After a few times, when the satay man see grandfather, he will ask “Towkay (big boss), today you want how many hundred skews?
Back home, grandfather will only take a few and that leaves me, grandmother and mom to finish the rest as daddy and Yann are not fond of satay.  When my cousins from KL are in town, the standard fare will be 200-300 skews for about 6 people. We were expected to finish every skew, including the onions and cucumber slices that comes with it. Any wastage will earn his wrath. He will always make sure that we have more than enough to eat and the food must be delicious. While others may say they are dying of hunger, we will always remark jokingly that we are full to death. That is my grandfather's style when it comes to food. 
“This is what I call a lot. I always had satay overdose when my grandfather was still around,” I said to the bewilderment of my colleagues and a good laugh.

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