Saturday, 16 June 2012

Kindness from an Unexpected Source

I was going to post about my blender, but really, this doesn't need to become more of a food blog than it already is. And anyway, something even better happened today.

You see, Rena has been feeling ill (tired + sore throat) the past few weeks, and today, she couldn't make it to Kendo. But anyway, after practice, we went to Beni's (Chinese food) for lunch. And while I was eating, I could hear what I thought was Chinese from the kitchen (but I couldn't catch it....). And while eating my friend rice, I started thinking that if I could, I should just buy some soup for Rena. Not miso soup, but the 补身 (Chinese - bu sheng: literally, repair the body) kind full of herbs and chicken.

So after eating (and making sure the meal has been paid for, in case they charge the soup to everyone), I went up to the the lady who looked in charge. After chatting for a few minutes (on things like what are we doing, and then about kendo), I mustered up my courage to ask:

"中国語ができますか" (chuugokugo ga dekimasu ka - can you speak Chinese?)

Well, she couldn't, but the waitress and the cook came. So after explaining what was going with Rena to them, they agreed that I shouldn't give her 补身 food because she's already too heaty, and so I should give her something cooling. They didn't have soup, but they went the extra mile and gave me medicine. One that makes a sort of tea and one that's Chinese medicine:

The packet on the left, that looks like some kind of nut, is apparently sea cucumber
(according to my mom, who is way better at Chinese than me)

I was really incredibly touched. Not only did they refuse to accept my money (they said that it's ok because we're all Chinese), what they gave me was from their personal medicine stash. And after that, the chef (he and his wife gave me the medicines) came out and explained how to take the medicines.

And I don't think I ever missed carrying a conversation in Chinese until today. The chef has also been to Singapore once (about 20 years ago), so there was quite a lot of things to chat about.

Rena (I told her what happened as soon as I got back) and I agreed we have to visit Beni's soon (to say thank you and to eat the -slightly expensive for a student- food).