Good things

 

There’s a lot of pretty average things going on in the world at the moment, to say the least. Mass shootings, terrorist attacks, wars and bombings. It takes a lot of stomach to read the news without wanting to rest your head on the kitchen table and sob. Adding to that, we’ve reached the back paddock of the year. We can see the end, we can see holidays, but we’ve still got a field’s worth of shit to wade through before we get out.

In an effort to circumvent all of this unpleasantness, I’ve been thinking about the little things that are good. Not in a cheesey “a child’s smile” kind of way, but just those every day, mundane things that make life just a little bit brighter. I am, of course, extremely wary of coming across as one of those Instagram positivity banshees who post pictures of sunsets or the ocean with a vague quote plastered over the top of it.

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I think it’s time to aim for a middle point between the reality of this messed up world and the proliferation of overly filtered portrayals of how great everything is. We need to tone down the Everything is Awesome!/#blessed/#soblessed/500 days of gratitude and tune out some of the barrage of terrible news we’re faced with every day. That’s not to say it isn’t important to be informed and engaged with the issues facing us as a society. It is. Now more than ever. But I think there’s scope for a little corner of our minds, or in my case the internet, for appreciating the everyday things in all their mundane excellence.

So here it is, my three average things that are absolutely nothing special. They don’t make me #soblessed or #grateful enough to post about on Instagram, but they are also not highly contagious diseases with high mortality rates or radical militant movements. They’re just good things. And sometimes that’s enough.

So here we go:

3: Singaporean carrot cake

You’re not really a carrot cake! Where’s the cream cheese icing? Where’s the walnuts? You’re not even sweet! Is there even any carrot in you? You are more like an omelette than anything else. Cake? Pfft. No, you’re a savoury, sneaky bastard but dammit, I love you.

2: Cats.

Shocker, I know. It seems like every day I creep a little bit closer to crazy cat lady territory. I’m embracing it though. I am unashamedly grateful for cats. For my own cat who has a huge attitude problem and is responsible for the cat hair tumbleweeds bouncing down the hall. I am also thankful for our community cat, affectionately known as Catniss Neverclean. She is always so happy to see me and runs down the street to say hello. She is, however, only available between the hours of 6am-9am and 4pm-8pm, otherwise it’s too hot. Even though I’ve stopped carrying cat food in my handbag, much to the relief of FS, Catniss doesn’t hold it against me and is always up for a pat.

1: Binge-watching TV series

Gone are the days of waiting a whole week for the next episode of a great TV show. What a time to be alive. I’m currently working my way through The Office, the American version, and it is pretty excellent. Being able to watch a full season of a TV show in one sitting is an absolute privilege for which I am so very #grateful.

They’re not much, only tiny stupid things, but watching my cat chase a tuft of her own fur and ordering a cheap plate of delicious hawker food are all it takes to put me in a good mood. And that’s all I need.

 

Meandering in Malacca

“It’s nice… just for the weekend though.”

That was the general consensus when others learned of our trip to Malacca, Malaysia. The former Portuguese/Dutch/British outpost had the most beautiful blend of architecture, from the thick-walled Dutch buildings to the intricacies of the traditional Malay terrace houses. I’d be interested to know the rate of museums per capita because there seemed to be one on every corner documenting everything from stamps to Chinese jewellery. Despite this rich deposti of touristy goodness, we seemed to spend more time eating than doing anything else. Malay coffee, Nyonya cendol, satay, Taiwanese cakes, ice cream eggs, Portuguese curry, mee and nasi in all forms, and one incredible mint chocolate milkshake. Malacca was definitely nice, but yes, just for the weekend. If only for the sake of my waistline…

Vegetarian FAQs

I will eat you and all of those you cherish, happy eggplant.

As a relatively new vegetarian, I’ve found myself answering the same questions over and over again. It’s interesting that people suddenly take an immense interest, sometimes even offence, to a lifestyle choice I’ve made. Buzzfeed has a good summary. So, as to ease the pressing questions, many people seem to have about what I ingest, digest, draw nutrients from, and expel, here’s a handy FAQ guide.

When did that happen?

It happened just after I moved to Singapore.

Ahh, so the meat’s not good there?

It’s not great, but that’s not the reason I stopped eating it entirely. Most of the meat here is sourced from the around the region: Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia so on, and most of these countries don’t have the best track record of animal welfare. That was my initial line of thinking, it then progressed to me realising whole meat industry does not have the best track record for that kind of thing.

Are you eating enough protein? What sort of supplements are you taking?

Let me answer your question with another question: have you ever heard of anyone being protein deficient? Iron deficient, certainly, but protein deficient? Nope. I do appreciate your concern though. I’m not taking any supplements. Fortunately, I regularly eat my body weight in Asian greens and tofu, both excellent sources of protein. Also, though trying to generally reduce my intake of animal product, I am definitely not vegan and continue to ingest inhuman amounts of cheese and Greek yoghurt. Thank you again for your concern.

Is this a weight loss thing?

Really? What exactly are you implying? But no, absolutely not. That’s the dumbest reason ever to remove entire food groups from your diet, I’m talking to you non-Coeliac, non-allergy, gluten haters!

But you’ll have a big steak when you go back to visit Australia, right?

No. Steak is meat.

What about barbeques??

Veggie burgers are delicious and come in many forms. I have an awesome recipe for chickpea patties actually. Plus salads, bread, beer, etc. Rest assured I can still enjoy many barbeque staples and I won’t ruin your good time, promise!

What about the plants? They’re alive, they might have feelings too.

Ok. Oh. Kay. This question makes me conclude that you’re being facetious and therefore an arsehole, or you’re legitimately asking and therefore you’re an idiot. Firstly, plants don’t have central nervous systems so it’s pretty safe to conclude they have no pain receptors. Furthermore, plant are generally fixed in one place and can’t escape predators which also lends itself to the pretty solid theory that, seeing as they make no effort to avoid it, plants don’t feel pain. Also, I hate you.

What about your poor partner?

My poor partner, I hear that a lot actually, I wonder what that means? Anywho, as I mentioned, he is still resolutely carnivorous. This however is a trait that is increasingly incompatible with his aversion to cooking. I cook most nights so he eats vegetarian most nights. If he wants meat, he can cook it himself, the freezer is well-stocked. He still orders meat when we eat out and has it for lunch most days, just not so much at home.

You’ll get over it.

Thanks for the support, Mum!

Hawker centre special: Huh?

No meat, no seafood. This dish, no meat. Just vegetables! Yes, no meat! No crab, no seafood, just vegetables. Tofu is ok. Just vegetables? Ok? Ok. Good. Thank you, Auntie.