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Our Daily Bread

Food is so engrained into the Singapore culture. Eating is an activity we look forward to – it is the place where many friendships are formed, family ties strengthened and lovers made. For those of us who, like myself, had the opportunity to live abroad and experience other cultures, coming home often means coming back to our favourite foods.
The first thing Min and I did when we got out of the airport was head for lunch. Never mind that we already had a lunch of sorts on the plane. Rock-hard buns were hardly real food. Dad and Mom were kind enough to acceed to our requests. We had fish soup and rice, one of my all-time favourite things.
Dad is a typical Asian father. He shows little or no emotion. The younger generation's perspective of what a parent should be has changed radiacally the past few years, with the proliferation of western television. Many of us younger people have adopted the models we find in weekly sitcoms like Friends, Gilmore Girls, Seven Heaven, and sometimes find it hard to appreciate the nuances of our own culture.
What a pity. Most of our parents aren't our best friends like Lorelei Gilmore is to her daughter. The more affluent youngsters try hard to forge friendships that revolve around expensive coffee places, hoping to find their Monicas or Chandlers that will be there every day. And yet others can't understand why kissing is still a rather taboo activity when the Camdens of Seven Heaven do it so much despite their father being a minister. Many struggle and conclude that their parents don't love them.
We sit down and Dad orders three bowls of fish soup and four bowls of rice (Mom wasn't that hungry). Two bowls arrive first as the serving lady can only carry that much at a time. Dad distributes the food, and asks us to eat first while he waits for the other bowl to arrive. A small gesture, one would say, but it is all I need to know that Dad loves enough to put us all ahead of himself – and that says a lot more than what I've seen on TV.
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