We received a message from Angela of Sydney asking whether we would like to have some hydroponic- grown chili and will be delivered personally this Saturday. How could we turn down such a good offer and kind gesture? In return we sent her an invite to have a meal with us. A flurry of one line messages followed to confirm place, food and time. We finally decided to have peppery Bak Kut Teh, literally translated from the Hokkien dialect as “Pork Bones Tea”. We were disappointed when she said that she can’t have a sit-down dinner with us but will have it as a takeaway. We are naturally pleased to oblige.
I wonder how many of you have noticed that Angela and I have just done an old kampong trading transaction called barter trading. It certainly isn't something new that we have invented; bartering has been around for a very long time. It's the way our ah kongs and ah mahs (grandparents) conducted their daily business and how they survived in their kampong days. Although many of our younger Singaporeans aren’t aware of this system at this present time, our grandparents bartered on a daily basis.Back in those days, people simply produced almost everything they need themselves. And what few things they didn't produce from their small vegetables plot, they procured by barter trading with someone in their kampong. On feast days or festival days, families exchanged traditional kuihs and cakes not because they can enjoy a greater variety without having to make them but it was a communal spirit of sharing among them.
Our grandparents and parents have set a precedent, and if this isn't Greek to you, then you understand that bartering is an economical and clever way to save money. If you barter an item you no longer need, you not only clear a little clutter from your house but you save money. Furthermore it helps someone else and gets something you can really use in return. It's a way of taking care of our needs and at the same time someone else's wants without spending money. As a self confessed hoarder, this is going to be a difficult task. But I am heading that direction and didn’t have much choice as my Mrs has given a dateline for me to clear the garage by springtime.
By re-educating ourselves on the right track to barter, are we able to revitalize this tradition of bartering and open ourselves up to the many resources and possibilities available to us from where you are now living.
Anyone willing to barter for my Sup Kambing ?