Father’s Day was June 21 but believe it or not, I thought it was June 12 and in a fit of belated filial piety decided to go to my father’s niche in Choa Chu Kang to change the artificial flowers with a few I asked picky Siti, who is quite good at arts n craft, to make.
She duly made three and without more ado we dashed there, to salve my conscience where my dad is concerned. I was never close to him and that makes it worse whenever I reflect on the possibility that I could have done more for him in his last days but didn’t. That’s the curse of having nine children, with each of us waiting for the other eight to act!
Conscience somewhat salved, we dashed off for lunch at Poison Ivy’s Bollywood Veggies Farm at Neo Tiew Road.
Hadn’t been there since the last majopr family gathering at the niche two years ago when one of the siblings suggested that we had lunch together after the ceremony, bils, dils, mils, sils etc.. altogether.
No one was in the mood at last year’s ceremony, particularly as one sil insisted that we must burn 3 rounds of joss sticks. And no one dared contradict her for fear of creating disharmony in the face of the ancestor. Imagine how long we stood there!
My latest visit — impromptu and without asking anyone else beyond the immediate household to come along — was smooth and swift. And no one countermanded where we were going to have lunch since I drove.
But horrors the quiet Kranji country side saw a tour bus actually thundering ahead of me and aiming for the same destination: Ivy’s!!
It was like a country fair ground within the compound and what I remembered as a small cafe had overgrown and overflowed into the previous walkway into the vegetable gardens.
There was people and noise pollution everywhere as everyone clamoured for food, drinks and attention. We found a table in the open hot like hell with the sun beating down on us, despite the awning and the many fans trying to generate some breeze in the still high noon air.
The food was edible but barely so; the ambience not much different from a food court without the benefit of aircon.
And we might have left as disgruntled customers but for Ivy Singh Lim, the owner. Ivy, despite her motor mouth uttering deliberately politically incorrect things to draw a laugh from her audience, had PR instincts flowing right to her finger tips.
She saved the situation where I was concerned by falling upon our table as tho we were great pals. We are just acquaintances. She was solicitous towards my mother and despite our protestations, gave her a bag of muffins as a present.
She made the maid laugh by uttering preposterous things such as saying her manager (to whom she said she paid $10K a month) was gay and topped that by threatening to kill him with a knife she always kept handy. The knife was used to cut a large banana leaf she gave the maid for her to use to culivate taugay (below) from green beans the Indonesian way.
His other bottle — Cloudy Bay — is awaiting another occasion which I’m sure I can create soon enough.