despite being first-movers don’t, or have success so brief that the “new wave cometh and overcomes the first wave”, as one Chinese saying has it.
I mused on this last week when I found myself back again at New Green Pasture Cafe or Sophie’s at Fortune Center, this time alone, because I had just been on one of my irregular tho fairly frequent (twice to three times a month) trips to the Kwan Yin Temple at Waterloo Street for a quiet sit.
I enjoy going alone to a place of worship, as just as I like doing serious shopping alone– the other reason I was in the neighbourhood: to shop at OG and to have new batteries put into a couple of my watches by Win’s, (a friendly watch shop selling watch batteries at $3 each) which operates at The Bencoolen.
Hence first to temple then to food, be4 the shopping. Hence Sophie’s that’s a hop, skip n jump away from the temple.
Since I was alone, I intended to select my food slowly, rather than be bull-dozed by impatient companions into opting for something simple such as special for the day.
But as luck would have it, I saw someone eating something interesting right at the door and decided to have that, rather than hum and ha over Sophie’s rather extensive menu, with possibly hidden shocks — I reiterate, many times I’m not quite sure what I’m eating when at Sophie’s, except that it tastes good or rather, pleasantly unusual.
And so I was served this after I asked to be served “what that lady’s eating”, point, point:
What I was given turned out to be a cold soba hidden under a canopy of a salad of fine strands of red cabbage, green lettuce, fat beigy bean sprouts, and a couple a small pieces of brown rice crackers which are rice puffs made into biscuit shapes.
I was initially put off by the fact that I had ordered a cold dish for lunch, till I tossed off the canopy and tasted the soba doused with sweet but not cloying black sauce which later Sophie herself disclosed as “molasses”. It was certainly soba soooo good.
While I was enjoying my soba, I contemplated the constant stream of diners who came and went from the cafe. In ones, two, threes or even more; some dine in others go for takeaway. Many broused the shelves packed tight with all types of foodstuffs: some ready to be eaten and drunk; others had to be cooked. They saw and they bought.
Naturally, my thoughts swerved to Richard Seah, an ex-colleague, who almost 20 years ago published a newsletter, The Good Life, promoting healthy eating and raising awareness about macrobiotic diets and organic food.
I was an original subscriber, not that I was very interested in diets or organic food but mainly to support a worthy venture and also, the writing was rather good.
With partners, Richard went on to set Brown Rice Paradise in Tanglin Shopping Mall, bringing in such yummy (and unheard of at that time) drinks like Rice Dream.
Yet, the Good Life has gone. As for Brown Rice Paradise, while it’s still at Tanglin Mall, Richard has long since departed. And Richard? I did a google and altho he has several websites, most seem to have been abandoned since 2004 or 2005.
As the obvious grand-daddy of the healthy eating movement, shouldn’t he be basking in the sunshine of the movement’s growing popularity today? Doesn’t seem to be the case while the likes of Sophie not only have a thriving business dishing out organic meals to eager diners but also sell the products and conduct classes to teach neophytes how to cook healthy.
Apart from luck, I credit the Johnny-come-latelys’ bountiful harvest to tenacity and drive. It’s one thing to be the first-mover, the orginator, and so on, but when you don’t water and fertilise your seed of an idea constantly, your withered plant will always end up as the compost for the next seed that comes along!