Every morning the trash lady comes to clear the trash from our little bins. She’s this middle-aged chinese lady, perhaps about my mum’s age or older, and every morning she combs through our trash and asks us why we want to throw away things that look perfectly usable to her. On occasion she actually brings other people’s trash to me (new desk calendars, boxes, stickers, etc.) to ask if I want it cause I’m the youngest and somehow she expects the younger folk to hoard like her. Her cart is loaded with regular trash in the black bin bags, and “still usable” trash, which she offers to other people wherever she goes. It’s so bizarre and cute. She also frequently asks me to read important looking documents to her in case they shouldn’t be thrown away (she can’t read or write).
I had lunch with her once and found out that she had 2 grown daughters (30+ years old) who are refusing to get married :P She also lives in Ghim Moh, which is really near to the office.
She likes commenting on my hair, my skin color, my weight, any bodily changes, she’ll be the first to comment about it, which is really embarrassing in my office because it’s so quiet and everyone can hear her talking about you. She’s been here so long (even when I did my internship in my freshman summer) they should give her a long service award.
In hiring cleaners, my company is quite careful to choose illiterate people, and usually they are quite old, because they have to be Singaporean, and they have to not be able to read English, due to the sensitive nature of our work.
I’ve been reading this article about the sea cucumber trade on Pohnpei and I totally agree with all their descriptions. I hate sea cucumber! Particularly since it seems to be making an appearance in all the wedding dinner menus that I see nowadays, especially in the soup option to replace sharks’ fin.
Perhaps it was memories of skinning, rinsing, drying, and salting cod on the Shetland shore that caused him to be so attached to trying the same business with sea cucumber on Pohnpei. Sea cucumber still carpets the shallow waters off of the reefs of Pohnpei. They are disgusting little black loafs of pre-historic animal life, a form of life that is barely recognizable as life. They taste disgusting when eaten, as Pohnpeians do, fresh, cut into tiny pieces, and stuffed into a bottle of cheap Filipino rum. But Cheyne saw gold in those gross little phallic echinoderms and risked life and limb to use them to achieve his dream of becoming, basically, the laird of Kitti.
Why anyone would want to eat this is beyond me. It’s huge in Singapore – they’re rather gelatinous and otherwise flavourless, but the sliminess gets to me. It’s like eating chicken tendons. I saw several once, live, in Desaru. They were intriguing looking creatures that spurting out jets of inky purple substance when approached. I didn’t have a camera then, so have no documentary proof of that. I think Chinese people like them for their anti-wrinkle properties (they’re full of collagen)