I’ve said it before - I detest cleaning the house. But when a cleaning fit comes over me, I’ll start wiping, scrubbing and polishing and won’t stop till my surfaces are gleaming and my hands all raw. At the hardware store, I’ll always trawl the household cleaning aisles and am a sucker for any product that promises to make cleaning a breeze. Ditto when it comes to household tips as wellI - I’ll want to try out any strange concoction that promises to get rid of scum or stains or rust. And it’s great when the remedy calls for everyday kitchen products that are just lying around, like baking soda and vinegar.
That’s right, it’s on, not in, Hollywood. When I visited my son, B, who had just recently moved to Hongkong, his tiny apartment on Hollywood Road became home for a few days. I re-acquainted myself with Nom Nom, his cat, who seemed to have settled in nicely and showed me a new trick or two. I also took to exploring his Sheung Wan neighborhood, and discovered some gems that might escape the eyes of the casual visitor.
I had a good chuckle recently when I saw in a magazine article that the designer Yves St. Laurent had a snake plant in his glorious Marrakech abode. The picture must have been taken years ago. In the intervening period up till now, the snake plant lost its appeal somewhat, perhaps because it seemed to be everywhere. But it’s definitely made a comeback in recent years, and I see it in home decor and design magazines. It does look very architectural, pointedly reaching up, but what endears the plant to me is its never-say-die attitude. No matter how badly I abuse my snake plants, they just grow. And grow. Which is great for my brown thumbs and bruised ego!
There I was, perched on the next to top rung of the step ladder, holding on for dear life while I attempted to clean the ceiling fan in my house. In the best of circumstances, my balance isn’t very good. I can fall over while striking a yoga pose in the gym. In fact, my friend, SY, had just told me about her housemaid who was on the ladder cleaning her fan when she lost her balance and snapped off a blade. So, gritting my teeth and sweating buckets, I cleaned the fan and vowed to get a part-time maid in to help me with my chores.
Very often, after lunch with friends, I would cruise through a certain street in my old neighborhood. A food truck would be parked there, dispensing freshly fried Indian snack food that, to me, was ridiculously cheap and oh, so delicious, especially with a cup of coffee. I would see fancy cars stopping by, often with chauffeurs popping down to pick up some snacks for themselves (or their bosses). A few different snacks were on offer, but my favourite was the vadai (or vade), a spicy, savory dhall fritter.
I was peeling the pomelo I bought this morning, a football-sized, grapefruit-like fruit that’s encased in thick pith and skin. I was looking forward to having its juicy sweetness add some punch to the Thai salad I was making. As I cut deeper and deeper into the pith, I realized that most of the weight of the fruit was in the pith and what I was left with was a very light, orange-sized fruit that was sour and worse, dried up. “Damn,” I thought to myself. “What was I going to serve up now?” Then I remembered the interview Golden Girl Simone Biles just gave.
My friend, K, recounted how she once absent-mindedly entered an elevator without looking, only to be told off by the man exiting. Not only did he admonish her for not letting people out of the elevator first before entering, but he did so in an expletive-laden rant. She was so stunned that she didn’t even have time to apologize or explain. I’m on the side of K on this one. She really didn’t mean to be rude but wasn’t even given the opportunity to apologize. And to people out there who say that the man had every right to tell her off, what happened to “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything”?