those black things

June 4, 2017

Usually I prefer to answer interview questions via email. It takes less time, I’m more efficient and I can have some time to think about my answers. But sometimes, the interviewer insists on meeting because they want to see my reactions and have a more wholesome picture. Iman filters the emails we get and some of them she declines, but there was this one that was so interesting.

This lady is writing a book on women in Malaysia and wanted to include me in it. Me in a book? OMG Mommy would buy 50 copies. Iman scheduled the meeting for half an hour (I’m usually very fast in interviews!) but this one lasted almost 2 hours! It was such a refreshing interview because it wasn’t the typical questions like “Explain to me how FV started” – basically stuff you can google if you did your homework. But her questions were more personal. One that I want to share is: What is your first memory as a child?

Immediately, strawberries came to mind.

I was in kindergarten. Maybe 4? Or 5? My dad was at an official diplomat dinner thingy where everything was formal. I knew because Mom put me in my fancy black velvet dress that made me feel like I was a little pwwwwincess, and you know it’s a better-behave-yourself kind of dinner when she makes you wear fancy ruffle socks with your shiny patent mary-jane flats. I must be getting married, I thought. So dressed up, I loved it!

Anyway, back to dinner. I was (still am) a very picky eater. I was so stubborn and I had a mind of my own, I will eat only what I wanted to eat and even Dad couldn’t force me. Well he could, but I’d cry and he wouldn’t want that at a fancy dinner, would he? *grins* *bats eyelashes*

They put strawberries on my plate. I looked at Mom. “I don’t want to eat this Mommy,” I tell her.

“Eat. It. Now.” She said in between her gritted teeth.

“I don’t wanttttttttt,” I mumbled softly.

I found the black seeds on the strawberries really scary and was pretty sure that if I ate them, strawberry trees would grow in my tummy. Ewww.

“Fine. Could you take out the black things please Mommy?”

“Sofinas, just eat it,” Ohhhhh the Sofinas came out. Mom is getting angry….

“I will. But I don’t want the black things, Mommy.”

I was such an adamant kid, I tell you. Mom sighed and to save herself from embarrassment in front of people, she surrendered and cut the skin of the strawberry until the black things were gone. By the time I got it back, the strawberry was so small I was basically eating a little tiny grape.

Mom doesn’t remember this story, but I do. Everytime I look at strawberries now, I remember that vivid memory of my childhood… and what an annoying little child I must have been. Sorry, Mom hehe.

But you know, life is a cycle. Karma will come getchu in the bum.

I made black pepper beef one night. Was excited to serve the family and as soon as I put it on Daniel’s plate of rice he went all ughhhh and started saying he didn’t want it.

“But it’s beef! You love beef!” I said.

“But what are those black black things, Mommy?” he asked.

I looked at the beef. What black things? Does he mean the black pepper?

“That’s just the pepper Daniel. It’s yummy! You won’t even taste it!” I said, basically contradicting myself in one sentence but whatever it takes to get him to eat. I was desperate, ok. 

“No, take the black thing out, Mommy, please.”

“You want me to separate each black pepper from your beef?” 

“Yes, Mommy, please. I don’t want.”

And just like that, flashback to my strawberry memory. I did the exact same thing to my mom, and here my son is doing the same to me!

Oh, even worse, Mariam heard him and also went, “No black thing Mommy, no.” wagging her finger around like a little boss.


Ohhhh how my mom has been waiting for this day….

What. Goes. Around. Comes. Around.

Do you remember your first memory as a child?