Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Hot Mamak

Salmonella typhii is on the loose. About 600 typhoid cases have been reported in Kelantan. There are a few deaths too. Two cendol factories there have been instructed to close.


I am not much of a cendol fan. But I don’t mind it though. On a super duper hot-hot day, an ice blended cendol will be as welcomed as a can of coke. But when typhoid scare makes people avoid cendol (and rightly so), I can’t help but wonder how my two favourite cendol sellers are doing (well, I only know two anyway).

Riding a very old bicycle, a Raleigh no-less, is this very elderly thin Mamak. Everything about him is old and authentic. His bicycle is modified a bit at the back so he has a little flat top to put his pots of coconut milk, cendol, raw sugar and ice-shaver. Mamak doesn’t use the ‘wheel’ type of ice-shaver. What he has is this very primitive looking blade in a block of wood. The block is about 4 inches wide and 12 inches in length. As primitive as the shaver may be he seems to shave ice pretty well with it. I bet it is not as easy as it seems. Of course you are never going to get ice as fine as blended but his cendol concoction is simply heavenly. For such heavenly cendol, Mamak asks for only 60 cents. Hayo Mamak… I feel guilty everytime I pay, because I feel it is worth much more than that. I hope Mamak sells cendol only as a hobby, I hope he has sons and daughters who pays for his bills. I hate to think that Mamak will have less customer now that typhoid is in town. I worry about Mamak in rainy seasons too. I seldom see him anymore. In fact the last time was months ago. Maybe today, if I see Mamak, I will buy a few ringgit worth of cendol, typhoid or not.

When I was younger, I stayed in Jalan Gurney. There was this Mamak stall near the house I rented. Mamak sold not just cendol, he was well-known for his rojak too. Now this Mamak had eyes so blue you would tend to buy more cendol and rojak than you could stomach. Mamak was huge and everybody agreed that he resembled Shashi Kapoor (a puffed up Shashi). Mamak came from Northern India but he could speak Bahasa fairly well. I was a regular customer there (wonder why) and he had a nickname for me. I was ‘Adek Pendek’. Last I heard, Mamak left Malaysia for good. His son in India got married and he had little grandchildren to dote on. I wonder if there is cendol in India. I know there is typhoid though.

It is a hot hot day today. No cendol, no Mamak.



Blogger Kak Teh said...

you are like my no: 7 bus. You wait for three weeks and then two turn up...
Anyway, you do know how to tug at my heart strings with this mamak story. I had this thing going with this mamak mee goreng in penang. couldnt do anything until i hear the creaky sound of his old push cart along Light street and then, one plate of mee goreng mamak, I was set to conquer the world!

11:22 PM  
Blogger OOD said...

Oh it was you! I wondered who was world conqueror that time! Rupanya you, Kak Teh the Mamakterian.....

Ood the Cendolian

12:21 AM  

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