Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Meating Point

You have to watch out for karma. It’s always ready to pounce, just when you’re at your most unsuspecting and vulnerable.
            For years, Amanda has been waging a bitter war against vegetarians, sniffing at the slightest hint of a preference for green leaves instead of slabs of red meat, or cold cuts of left over roast pork.
            Whenever we’re at a restaurant and the waiter asks her if she has any dietary restrictions, her answer will be: “Yes, bad food.”
            “Why on earth would anyone prefer to eat a broccoli salad when you could be cutting into a thick juicy cut of wagyu?” she once asked the world at large as she allowed a strip of said wagyu to dissolve on her tongue. “God, isn’t this so good?”
            Saffy looked at Amanda sideways. Her ample bosom trembled like a pot of water on simmer. “I think you and that sixty dollar steak need to get a room!”
            And then one day, a few weeks ago, on a plane from Tokyo back to Singapore, Amanda, having finished her satay sticks in Business Class, fished out from her handbag a book her friend Janet had insisted she read.
            “It’s life-changing!” Janet had said a few days before, thrusting “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” into Amanda’s reluctant hands.
            “But I don’t need to read this, I have no dilemma!” Amanda had protested as she tried to push the book back at Janet, but she was no match for a hard-core TRX practitioner. Defeated, she dropped it into her voluminous Hermès Birkin and forgot all about it until she was on the plane rooting around in it for a wet-wipe. With nothing else worth reading, she settled back, turned to page one and started.
            By the time SQ631 landed in Singapore, Amanda had not only finished the book (“I’m a speed-reader,” she told a skeptical Saffy), she was literally trembling.
            The first person she called was Janet.
            “Oh. My. God!”
            Janet was smug. “I told you! Didn’t I tell you it’s life-changing?” she said in her crispest Katong Convent accent.
            “Is it all true though?” Amanda asked as she marched through immigration towards the taxi-stand. “About those poor cows and those poor chicken?”
            “Of course it is! It’s all documented! That book is why I became a vegetarian in the first place! I cried for days!”
            “But…but…isn’t the solution then to just eat organic meat?” Amanda’s mouth started watering at the idea of a steak tartare.
            “Well, that’s what I thought as well, but then my yoga teacher started telling me about how when a cow is slaughtered, they are flooded with adrenaline and fear and panic and anger and pain and it all goes into their flesh, which we then consume and it all manifests in our own emotions and behaviour!”
            “I guess that’s that then…” Amanda sniffled.
            Of course, when Sharyn heard that Amanda had decided she was going to be a vegetarian, her response was to the point. “Aiyoh, you siow, issit?”
            “Those poor cows, Shazz. You don’t…” Amanda began.
            Sharyn waved her hands. “Aiyah, you become vegetarian, how you expect people to invite you to dinner? Or-redi so difficult to cook, now must cook extra dish for you! You think I very free, issit?”
            “But your maid does all the cooking!” Amanda pointed out.
            “Yah, but I have to direct her, you know!”
            “OK, but before you totally condemn me, I want you to read this,” Amanda said as she pushed “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” across the table at Sharyn.
            Sharyn pursed her lips and looked at the book in much the same way a cow probably looks at Aston’s. “Ay, I very busy, you know…” she began uneasily.
            “Just read the first three chapters,” said Amanda in her silkiest sultry voice that has been the downfall of many a married man.
            Two days later, Sharyn announced on Facebook that she was giving up meat. She ended her announcement with “Aiyoh!”
            Saffy was astonished. “Really? Just like that? Whatever happened to all that stuff about having to cook extra dishes and stuff?”
            “For udder people! But if for myself, then OK, what! Saffy, ah, you must read dat book. The England very powderful some time, but hor, easy to read. So scary, I tell you! The poor cow and pig.”
            “And chicken!” Amanda chimed.
            “Yah, and chicken! Aiyoh, the poor chicken!”
            All of which has made Saffy extremely curious about the book. “But I can’t read it now. Bradley is taking me to Morton’s this weekend. I’ll read it after.”
            Me, I’m staying well away from the Devil’s Handbook.

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