"Nasi lemak again?! Haiyo...", exclaimed my colleagues to my almost, daily routine. But, we get used to a certain familiarity after a while, so they got used to me having the little packet of RM1 nasi lemak at the start of my day, although some may beg to differ with the health hazards I'm signing myself up for.
I like nasi lemak. (amongst many other 'unhealthy' foodie I enjoy)
After all, it's one of Malaysian's favourites. But this post is not about Malaysian food. This is a story of why nasi lemak is not just close to my appetite but also, to my heart.
It used to be how I saved money by having two packets for dinner, when I was still in the early stages of my working life. Two packets means only RM2, a full stomach and a satisfaction to my appetite.
Don't get me wrong, life wasn't that hard then. But when you are just starting out and having to fork out from your very own pocket for everything, there has to be some calculation to where your salary goes to.
So every week without fail, for at least twice on weekdays, I would drive to the nearest little roadside DIY stall in front of KFC in TTDI - with just an umbrella, a stool and a basket, a malay lady sits, awaiting for cars to stop and call out for her nasi lemak. It's almost like a drive-thru!
I remember when I gave thanks for food back then, I literally gave thanks that I have food, could still have rice for dinner, even if it's just nasi lemak. Rice means I can be full. I was thankful that I can get a cheap dinner despite the living cost in PJ, which sometimes could be a struggle for a young graduate.
Fast forward the time to a few years later, where I have moved back to Penang and now, back to PJ once again, guess what I lookout for when I first got back here? Whether the nasi lemak is still there? Whether has the price increased? Whether has the taste change? To my delight, some good things stay the same :)
Today, I still buy those little packets. Same price, same taste, only different location. I guess you could say they have 'franchised' it (term used loosely here). I live in a different area now but it never fails to bring a smile to my face whenever I see that little DIY stall somewhere. I find the "Taman Tun Nasi Lemak RM1" a familiar taste to my stomach...and my memory. I no longer buy them for the reason of saving up for a meal but for enjoyment of simply just, nasi lemak.
Each time I take a bite, I remember the time when that used to be my dinner when pockets were tight. I remember where I came from. I remember how thankful I was. I remember how simple things can bring smiles. I remember how money is spent.
This is my nasi lemak story. A story of helping me to remember that good things in life comes in small packages. That small packet humbles me. It filled my stomach.
I hope when I give thanks nowadays, I don't just utter it because it has become a practice but that I am truly thankful, there's food on the table.