Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Gee ... is that really how Bird's nest soup came about?

Ok ...its a sad indictment of the times that I am currently hooked on a mediacorp soap opera called The Little Nonya.

Can you remember the advent of the now humble (and  near obsolete) VCR? (What the hell! I remember getting our first colour television - exciting times!!) And after years of homeland bashing, I have finally succumbed to the erstwhile laughable ways of yore. I remember being in the morning session at school, coming home in the afternoon, walking down CP Road and being dazzled by the flickering cathodic rays of under the counter hong kong serials - under the counter not so much due to the antiquated prurient concerns of an ill-disguised police state, but moreso due to the fact that chinese dialects were considered half baked and culturally ill-mannered. Over the counter = dubbed into Mandarin. Under the counter = in the original language, with blood and gore and the occasional glimpse of occidental skin.

Anyhoo, in a long winded way, those were the days of the VCR - I remember seeing filial children with plastic bags crammed full of VCR's - separated into bundles according to series numbers - ready for some bored housewife's afternoon delight, in between the sweeping, washing and cooking. How we looked down our noses at such folly! And how we have now regressed as Father time turns the countdown dial with glee ...
The Little Nonya tracks the ups and downs of the Huang family and associated in-laws from pre-war days through to current times - oddly enough some characters age, others don't, but hey ho, we're never ones to let acting or make-up get in the way of a good bitch fight or laborious crying scene. Our central character is quite a progressive one in many ways, and ultimately its the notions of filial piety and familial ties that are upheld and eulogized as the binding forces effecting a satisfying and desirable outcome in the end. Oh and not only is our little nonya a bastion of women's rights in her own humble way, she is also I believe an early example of an SPG - can't say why as it is a bit of a spoiler.
Look, despite some rather spurious and frankly laughable attempts at alluding to the origin of certain delicacies (discovery of birds nest soup and chendol), and the exceedingly overwrought and melodramatic tone of proceedings in general, this was strangely rivetting and I barrelled through all 34 episodes in the space of about 3 nights. It helped that I have been touched by a mild case of stress related insomnia.

I hesitate to recommend this to people in general as I think to gain the most out of the experience (and it is a big ask - 34 hours or so of your life down the soap opera drain) there has to be a cultural connection of sorts - but all I can say now is hurry up M and recover as quickly as possible ... I'm dying to cook some nyonya food!


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...