Anson, he’s the handsome one amongst us. He doesn’t know it but he provides us with much relief from our daily mundane life. Muscular, attractive and ripped with a six pack, I imagine. He regularly sends us a selfie, a self-imposed weekly report on his progress following the strict IF regime I introduced to him. A year of Intermittent Fasting has seen him lose his chubby chin, flaccid arms and heavy man-boobs that struggle to get sunlight from beneath his t-shirt. His selfies are always with the same pose, his head tilted to his left, right in front of his bar mirror. He is instantly recognisable, his mop of red hair is quite unique for a Penang-lang, bopping above the crowds along the streets of Penang. Red hair? Sun-bleached, not dyed, he insists. His gaze is sideways to accentuate his big almost goldfish eyes. Well, better those than mine, which are beady and slanty by comparison. I used to wish I could secretly cut off the epicanthic folds. But we can’t keep those secret, unlike circumcisions. Anson is an unusual beefcake, he loves to send us photos of his cooking. My oh my, this bloke can cook. His Tau Eu Bak holds real promise of being the best in Penang. A pity he did not remember to let me try them when I was there just a couple of months ago. He tells me I am too serious. Time for some comic relief, bro, he writes. Methinks you’ve been too serious in the last few blogs. Or is it just me, he pretends to ask. A good blogger must entertain, not just educate. I never said I am a good blogger! I would never be so presumptuous to think I am able to educate! And I know my weakness, I’m way too serious! Why do you miss my point? I write about the ugliness of people, urghhlings, remember? I do wish I can be funny. If only I can be perceptive of your idiosyncrasies and write in a funny way. Anyway, what do you suggest I should write about, that is funny? Mooncakes, he suggested. Mooncakes? You want me to provide comic relief and your solution is for me to blog about mooncakes? I know nothing about mooncakes! Not knowing much about mooncakes and still blog about them provides the relief, don’t you see? Anson has a point. The beefcake wants his mooncake.
In our childhood the best mooncakes were from Pun Heong, but like many good things in life, they did not last. It’s not only cheap things that do not last, see? They were famous for their cakes with piggy shapes, but I prefer the goldfish ones. Anson then got serious. Penang-lang eventually narrow down all conversations to price and value. A branded mooncake costs RM13 each. Four of mine cost less than RM7, always go for the unbranded ones, bro. Great advice, mate, but I won’t be buying any mooncake there anytime soon. You get great value for money without the designer label. It is not worth paying for the brand name and fanciful packaging, he persists with his useless advice to me. Designer label? Brand name? For mooncakes? I can’t name one brand, can you? It is not as if you can parade down the street flogging your mooncake to show you’re rich. The marketing must be so slick for them to command six times the price of yours, I reverted to my serious nature. Is it really just branding? Nothing about fresh ingredients? Superior salted duck eggs? I have not bought a mooncake ever since my sons left home, that’s some seventeen years ago. I am too serious I suppose to be one who buys mooncakes. The price for one is almost $10 here in Adelaide, I think. No inclination to have one, mate. Why do the Chinese celebrate the mooncake festival or the mid autumn festival? Just like the Easter buns and Easter chocolates, the message is lost in the commerce. During the Yuan Dynasty, during the Mongol rule from 1279-1368, messages to rebel against the Mongols were passed around in mooncakes. But, the tradition goes way back to the Zhou Dynasty, over 3000 years ago. Chinese emperors had always prayed to the moon for good harvests and peace for all. Ever since the Americans claimed to have left footprints on the moon and littered it with their flags, I have no inclination to worship the moon anymore.