it’s a cliche that is a hard kernel of truth. in hospital when my grandma is ill we bring tea and kueh. my grandfather withdraws a crumbled cake in a plastic bag from his shirt pocket. my uncle brings my grandfather toast. “can i eat this?” is the most ridiculous question you can ask in either of my grandparents’ houses. after breaking up with a boy g brought me out to have prata and chocolate cake. nevermind, we eat xiao long bao okay? “let’s order supper” means: we’re friends, i want to hang out with you and blow off studying, let’s share nuggets and fries, fried rice and mashed potatoes, lie on the stairs and talk. “i feel like eating noodles” means: let’s sit on unswept floors, bare legs in fbt shorts stretched out, eat ramen with plastic forks and talk at two am in the morning. let’s go down to seven-eleven. let’s have brunch. do you want me to cook prawns for you tonight? your favourite steamed egg-and-minced-meat? how about mama’s curry? hang in the doorways of friends’ rooms and ask plaintively, “do you have anything to eat?” let’s check hungrygowhere.com. jia ying ah, can you go and book for 12 pm dim sum tomorrow at crystal jade? “heading out to clementi now. anyone want koi??” “yes earl grey milk tea 50% sweetness extra pearls please.” post-clubbing eating choices: bak chor mee at thomson road (one of us will inevitably order two bowls, and remember, no pork for ying); prata at the place outside zouk; mcdonald’s in clarke quay (stepping gingerly over the drunk people sprawled outside, and expertly cutting cab queues later: i’ve had food there with so many people, so many strangers that i meet, add on facebook, promptly forget, and quietly remove two months later). sunday morning breakfasts when i can wake up - kaya and butter toast, teh, and two hard-boiled eggs, one of which i inevitably will give to dad. you’re going to taiwan? buy me mochi okay? “let me pay for this meal. (let me be responsible for bringing you out; let me thank you for the pleasure of your company; you are my soul’s guest.)” biscuits and chocolates sticky-taped to my door and hung on my door knob, all saying: good luck for your exams, study well, eat lots, may this accompany you and alleviate your stress and provide some sweet munchy goodness, and a sly wink: i know that me giving you this bar of chocolate means a repayment at some point in the future when i will come back to my room door and see a note and a snack from you. friends giving up teh ping for lent. text messages: hwang’s is open!! let’s go get kimbab later. eh, i’m going down to the food court, you want anything to eat? do you want anything to eat?