Photo Credits Here
By Ang Jing Han
The snacks are a huge temptation.
I hesitate in front of the white wire rack, eyes wandering over my favourite childhood crackers; Roller Coaster, Tam Tam, Mi Mi. Some new additions; Corntos, Shoyuemee.
The uncle watches me, his gaze passive, but I can feel the amusement that he hides too well. His father sold the tidbits when I was a child, and even now his father sometimes comes to the shop and sits on a stool and judges me with the same passive gaze.
The shop sign is rainbow-coloured, and the shopkeeper is surrounded by stacks of longevity buns arranged into large pyramids. They also sell huat kueh meant for praying to the dead, but I ignore those quite habitually as my eyes focus back on the crackers.
Behind me, an auntie tsks. She bends down and her arm shoots past my thigh to pick up one of the plastic boxes off the metal table. The way she picks her kuehs are fast and methodical; she picks up oneh-oneh, kueh lapis and ang ku kueh, and throws in a packet of six fluffy steamed cakes in pastel colours.
The kuehs are for tea break, and the steamed cakes are for breakfast. I look back down at the selection of kuehs. I had them too, when I was younger – in that moment, overwhelmed with nostalgia, I pick up a plastic bag of tapioca kuehs (3 large pieces for eighty cents). They’re cheaper than the crackers, and I leave, giddy and gleeful with some of my favourite childhood snacks.
Until I realize, I can’t finish them all by myself, and my sister isn’t home to help me.