Monday, 23 June 2014
I've just survived a terrible weekend. It first started when I went up the Penang Hill with a friend late Friday evening. At the food court, I had noticed a stall owner bringing in a basketload of soursop. Fresh, heart-shaped soursop. We locals would call it the angmoh durian because there are little soft spines on the fruit's skin.
There were some specific instructions that came with the fruit. "The fruit ripens from the bottom and you should slice it off from there, cover the exposed part with clingwrap and keep the rest of the fruit on the table, slicing off whatever part had ripened," the stall owner said. Then the word of warning: "Don't keep it in the fridge."
Come lunch time on Saturday, I began slicing off the soursop from the bottom. But I noticed that the whole fruit was ripening already. If my wife and I don't finish the fruit fast, it would surely go bad once it had ripen. We sat down to eat as much as we could. A little bit remained unfinished. No more could we eat. Then I decided to put it away in the refrigerator. I had forgotten the word of warning from the stall owner, you see, and kept the unfinished fruit in the fridge. At night after dinner, I brought it out to finish it off.
That was when my problem started. That same night, I suffered from gastric wind in the abdomen. Was it coincidental with the expired soursop I had taken? I don't really know but when my wife tapped on my belly, it sounded that the whole drum section of an orchestra had just finished playing. Bom, bom, bom, my belly went. Nasty wind in the tummy. My wife applied some medicated oil to soothe it down and I felt slightly better after that.
We awoke at about four o'clock the next morning. My wife's company had organised a golf tournament in Penang and I had offered to drive her there. After that, I would have some hours to kill in George Town before heading to The Old Frees' Association in Northam Road to join some other members at this year's OFA durian party in Balik Pulau.
The only other thing that interested me was the Espanade coming to life with people jogging, walking, catching a snooze under the shady trees, fishing and council workers clearing rubbish left behind by non-civic conscious people the night before. Some rubbish had fallen into the sea, too far away for the council worker to retrieve them and the waves disposed of them later.
By then, my abdomen had that funny bloated feeling again. I decided to cut short my time at the Esplanade and Beach Street (where the Sunday cultural festivity, Occupy Beach Street was going on) and rushed to The Old Frees' Association where I relieved myself for the second time since morning.
The moral of this story is: don't totally disbelieve the old wives' stories. There must be some basis in the advice we hear from young. Fruits such as the soursop and chempedak must be eaten fresh. If already cut and kept in the fridge for a later consumption, it can possibly lead to a brief bout of food poisoning if we are not too careful. Wind in the tummy. Bloated tummy. Extended tummy. Farting. Purging, Vomiting. All signs of possible food poisoning. Not good at all and for one that had recovered from a bout of diverticulosis as well, it can be pretty alarming.