Seriously, child, there’s three days left!
Let me rephrase that…
Actually there’s two.
Perhaps it’s really time
Dad and I took over?
Assist in your packing?
Stuff your things in your bags?
HELP! Did you order any boxes?
If you were a cab driver, and you discovered that your last passenger had left his mobile phone in your back seat, what would you do?
This particular driver drove back to the condo where he’d dropped his passenger off, intending to return the phone. What happened next? The passenger beat him up.
Yes, that’s exactly what happened. According to a news report, the driver managed to locate the passenger at the condo BUT the passenger concluded that the driver had stolen his phone and attacked him. Eye witnesses said the driver hurt his wrist and was forced to drive off with his doors still open, to escape the passenger’s wrath. The condo security guards did nothing to intervene, despite other residents asking them to do so.
In the end, the police were called. In court, the passenger was defended as being overstressed by work and having been drinking. He has since been charged with causing hurt and assaulting a public servant, and will spend four weeks in jail.
I am saddened on so many levels.
I keep thinking: How could the driver have stolen the phone? If he had, why would he then return to the condo? Why did the guards do nothing? If stress and drink reduced this man to such an act of violence, was it his first time? Will he do it again? Stress and drink won’t magically leave our lives. The man possibly needs more help than a jail sentence. What of the driver? Will he bother to return the next lost item? Will he view his passengers with a degree of caution and mistrust?
But most of all, I keep thinking: what is the price of an act of kindness? Or honesty?
It made me realise that while I’ve taken photographs of historical buildings, quirky art, gorgeous gardens on my travels, I have pitifully few photos of my morning cup of coffee, my after-dinner coffee or even my hotel-room coffee.
Yet, these cups of comfort represent many special moments: the quiet contemplation on a balcony, the thrill of discovering a local coffee shop speciality, the restful recuperation on a photo stop after two hours on a coach, even a conversation starter on a long train journey. Indeed, each cup was often a cultural experience and history lesson in itself.
So here are some royalty-free stock photographs that come closest to what I’ve encountered. My thanks to the photographers for their generosity in sharing, and for capturing what I should have.
This reminded me of kopi tarik (co-pee tar-rake) or “pulled coffee” in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The stall owner would raise his metal pot way above his head, take perfect aim and pour coffee (or tea) into a mug. He would pour the liquid in the mug back into the pot the same way, and repeat the pot to mug transfer. The result was a frothy beverage with the temperature just right for sipping. The old-fashioned cappuccino, perhaps?
This is Vietnamese dripped-coffee. In the tin cup are coffee grounds with hot water poured to the brim and kept warm by the saucer on top. In the mug is sweetened condensed milk. When all the liquid had dripped into the mug, you stirred your drink with the metal spoon and ta-da! … coffee.
I must confess this was something I didn’t actually try, although my fellow travellers did. In Singapore, traditional coffee shops in the 1930-40s served coffee with condensed milk and a blob of butter; this was called kopi gu you (co-pee goo you, where gu=cow, you=fat, hence coffee butter). The butter was said to add flavour to the coffee, and to “smoothen” its taste. Today, this drink has made a comeback, and also flourishes in parts of the US as Bulletproof Coffee, blended with the butter, coconut oil and protein powder.
And these two cuties remind me of my too-short trip to Nagoya, Japan.