Please do not rain mallets, rolling pins, xylophone sticks or any other weapons of mad destruction upon my head, even if they are recyclable, reusable or biodegradable. There’s not much in there but I still need it for tomorrow :).
Not just any voice … but the Voice of my primary school math teacher intoning #32 of his Math-isms: Parallel Lines Never Meet.
Which got me thinking about all the “parallels” that have crossed my path: there’s the mighty 38th Parallel, parallel sequences in music, parallel plots, parallel imports, parallel bars, parallel circuits … There are parallel universes, parallels in history – though there are, of course, events and circumstances that remain unparalleled.
Which then triggered the memory of Tom, the boy at the back of the class, who had raised a fascinating question: “If parallel lines never meet, how come we got squares on waffles?” My unparalleled memory (in the worst way) prevents me from recalling the teacher’s response, but I do believe Tom received detention.
Which leads me to the one thing I have never liked about parallels – the parallelogram. I’ve never understood it. If it’s nice and straight and right angled, call it a square or a rectangle or an oblong. If it’s all slanty, with weird angles that students are eternally condemned to calculate the external angles of, call it a rhombus or a diamond or a kite or something other than a parallelogram. I even had to check its spelling and pronounciation before plonking it in this post. If you have a spare moment, try saying ‘parallelogram’ three times fast.
I have no idea what the point of this post is, beyond establishing that parallel lines can intersect other parallel lines and then we get the points. And angles. And waffles.
It was just one of those days where the sun glowed from its perch on cloud nine and the clear blue sky proclaimed itself to be the seventh heaven. The palm leaves whispered their joy while the sea waved its blessings to the crowd on the beach.
The mum twinkled in her diamonds, the dad delighted with the turn out. The in-laws-to-be beamed with pride at their new status-to-be.
The string quartet joyously heralded the bride’s arrival. The attendees rose, peering, peeking, and then thrilled at incandescence of a young woman in love.
She floated to the dais and smiled, flushed and radiant.
I’ve swallowed pills and tablets of every colour chemistry can conjure up.
I’ve swallowed gruesome liquids in colours that defy description.
I’ve swallowed food the wrong way.
I’ve swallowed my pride.
I’ve swallowed my words.
I’ve even swallowed a tall tale or two.
But I absolutely, totally, 100% refuse to swallow Bird’s Nest Soup.
Why? Because it is, literally, the nest of a species of the swift (Aerodramus fuciphagus). A swift is not the same as a swallow, but as the Chinese word for the swift and the swallow is yen (燕), I’m taking the liberty of dove-tailing the two.
Back to the nest. Yes, nest – a bird’s home for laying eggs and bringing up baby birds. This nest, unfortunately for this particular swift, is made of its saliva and shaped like if you cupped one hand, and sized about 8cm across.
The nests can be found high up in caves in parts of Malaysia, Thailand and even Bali. Once it was discovered that these nests were edible, hunters climbed up to pry the nests loose; if harvested before eggs are laid or hatched, they were clean and easy enough to prep for sale. Because it is a lucrative business, artificial nesting boxes are now used to farm even more nests.
It is believed that consuming the nests is good for health, beauty and longevity. Indeed, it is a delicacy served at auspicious occasions like birthdays and Mother’s Day. I’m not sure anyone realises the supreme irony of destroying a mother’s home in order to gift it to another mother.
Today, the nests can be bought in bottles and gift packs, ready-cooked in rock sugar, honey or any variation of sweet or savoury preparations. The biggest importers are said to be the US, China and Hong Kong, where a bowl of Bird’s Nest Soup can cost up to US$100.
I was offered this soup while on a tour in Thailand and did think it looked intriguing. It resembled a bowl of translucent jelly-like oatmeal. Then I asked what it was …
Nope, didn’t touch it then, and still not touching it now. It’s not the saliva that I find hard to swallow; it’s the fact that it’s somebody’s home.
Some of you may have noticed a change in my blog theme. Some of you may have even noticed this is the third change in as many days.
You see, I’d wanted to tweak the blog a bit, given that it’s been two months since I first posted anything (has it?!). Then I discovered the theme I’d been using has been retired. So I chose another one but somehow it didn’t feel right. I left it for a day and couldn’t see myself keeping that look.
This morning I made the decision to change the theme again. I sat down and devoted myself to selecting something that would be restful and pastel, inspired by those awesome macarons (and a quick lesson on the difference between a macaron and a macaroon, which led to more pictures of awesome treats … ).
Then came fonts and headers and colours. Did I want a header image? Did I want to use combination fonts? Should I have drop caps? By the time I was done, it was two hours later. The whole process was a maze in tech-land. Can you tell I’m not a techie?
Long story short, it’s done.
Thank you all for your support and for dropping by, reading, liking and commenting. I hope you like the makeover.