If you ever need clear evidence that we live in a world gone completely crazy, you just come and sit by me any time you want, because I have a whole lot of crazy to tell you, my friend.
It all started a few weeks ago when I was having lunch with my friend Leong at Alexandra Village.
Well, when I say I was having lunch with him, it’s probably more accurate to say that I was eating, and he was sipping water while watching me eat.
“You know,” I said, between mouthfuls of a delicious claypot laksa, “I could just as easily have eaten by myself. This is just so pointless!”
“Sorry, lah,” Leong said. “I forgot this was my non-eating day!”
It turns out the latest craze to hit Crazy World is the 5-2 diet which, apparently, is not the score for a tennis match. Instead, you are meant to eat normally for five days of the week and then fast for two days.
“You just pick any two days of the week and skip two meals for each of those two days,” Leong explained like it was the most natural thing in the world to do.
“Any two meals?” I asked, as I scooped up a salty cockle from my thick, creamy laksa broth.
“I usually skip breakfast and lunch. I find that if I don’t have dinner, I can’t sleep.”
“I can’t sleep if I miss any meal!” I told him. “In fact, I honestly don’t think I’ve missed a single meal in my life. Unless I’m really sick.”
“We don’t need to eat so many meals,” Leong said. “This whole three-meals a day thing only happened in the early part of the last century. Before that, people only had a light breakfast and a big supper.”
Of course, when I went home and reported this to Saffy, she said, “And how does he know this? Was he around in 1910?”
“He got a first in history in Cambridge,” I said. “He knows this sort of thing.”
“I don’t trust anyone from Cambridge,” Amanda said, secure in the superiority of her Harvard degree.
“But what’s the point of this diet?” Saffy wanted to know.
“The fasting is meant to help cleanse the body and kick-start its immune system and keep it working in tip-top condition. Leong says he’s lost five kilos!”
“Five kilos!” Saffy said. “But he’s always been skinny! How could he afford to lose five kilos? More to the point, where did those five kilos come from?”
“Probably his brain,” Amanda said, pleased that here was proof that Cambridge graduates possessed defective reasoning powers.
Leave it Sharyn to put the whole thing in perspective.
“Ay, you know, ah, we Chinese people suffer all those years of star-vation, you know or not?” she said, her eyes alarmingly magnified by her Coke bottle thick spectacles. “Our ancestors got no food to eat and they all die and now we want to starve ourselves? Where got such thing, one? Siow lang, ah!”
“Well, to be fair, Sharyn, it’s called fasting, not starv…” Saffy began.
Sharyn waved her hand, impatience etched into the thin disapproving lines on each side of her mouth. “If you don’t eat, is call star-vation! Aiyah, have you notice or not, all these die-ets are invented by siow ang moh! In the history of the universe, no Chinese has eh-ver invented a die-et! Not one! You go and find?”
Even Amanda paused at this. She turned her lovely limpid eyes up towards the ceiling and thought. Saffy sat quietly, frowning.
Sharyn glowed with satisfaction. After a triumphant silence, she said, “Don’t have, right?”
Amanda suddenly sat up. “What about confinement diets?”
Sharyn looked at her. “You give birth, is it? You got no baby, what for you want confinement diet? And also, hor, confinement diet not mean you don’t eat, ok? You still eat like normal, but eat different thing! Not die-et, lah!”
Still, Saffy and Amanda have never met a diet they’ve not failed at least once and they’re not about to let the 5-2 Diet slip by them.
“I wouldn’t mind losing a kilo or two,” Amanda said as she looked at her diary to work out the two days of the week she could skip her two meals.
“What if we do a six one diet?” Saffy asked. “And on that one day, we skip one meal rather than two?”
“Why would you even bother if that’s the case?” Amanda said.
Saffy shifted. “Well, just to ease my way in! Skipping four meals a week sounds really traumatic!”
Amanda says that if there was ever a famine, Saffy would be the first one to die.