lau lim pored over a stack of brochures —
sanyo, hitachi, national, westinghouse.
a washing machine, a compact dummy-thing,
has replaced the dhobi, spreading out clothes to dry.
this man, as job epithets go,
is in the porcine line — stall 27;
his pig-intestine soup diffuses aroma to all.
a pig is a very compact arrangement
and lends itself to gastronomic deconstruction,
every which part is tedious and messy
but no parts more so than the innards —
slippery, slithery ropes to hang
culinary excellence on.
the scraping of the mucilage takes two people
some hours each early morning, a job
of moan and groan. worst of all,
not showing up is total loss of trade to the man
pursuing the brochures with a vengeance.
bypassing light cotton, delicate fabrics,
and other settings, his two sonys whirl and churn
loud and clear. if you look at the glass windows,
grey snakes glide in quick-heavy motion.
and, from the bowels of these machines
to the boiling cauldron, it is a duplicitous movement.
what a congruence
of processes it all is:
the soup arrives,
for you and for you,
steaming in your face.
By Arthur Yap
QLRS Vol. 1 No. 1 Oct 2001