The makan-makan was at Secret Recipe. Other Half wanted to take his mom out and we ended up inviting 2 of his aunties as well; we were working on the adage "the more the merrier'. LOL! One aunty is over 80 years old but she was game. It's good to see her so fit at her age.
It was their first time there... well, the first time they ate there! Apparently a group of them had walked in a couple of months back but did not stay to eat. Reason?? The prices of the food at Secret Recipe were deemed too expensive by these ladies! My mother-in-law belongs to a generation with super thrifty practices. Theirs is a generation grown up on the hard toil and sweat of their parents; my grand parents' generation. Many were first generation here. What little (or much) wealth was built on toils and plenty of dangers lurking in the uncleared lands. Hence, thriftiness was always ever present even in my life as I was growing up.
However, many of their parents valued education. I read in a book compiled about the history of Sitiawan how the early settlers built a school while living in makeshift temporary shelters before building their own homes. So it wasn't surprising that many of my parents' generation got educated and many became teachers. And because life as farmers' children was hard and money hard-earned, they were thrifty.
Many were thrifty for another reason too. They were squirreling away money for their children's education. It wasn't surprising back in my days to see a family living in a wooden attap-roofed house able to send their children overseas for education. They worked hard, saved even harder, lived frugal lives so that their children could get a better education. They denied themselves many comforts in life for their children.
So my parents' generation (my mother-in-law) grew up frugal. They passed on some of the frugality to us. I still find my mom's incessant reminders ringing in my mind sometimes about wastage.... and I still find it a waste not to finish food on the table or to throw any leftovers out. I am not a picky eater because Mom made sure we ate everything. We planted our own fruit trees, my mother-in-law has her own vegetable plot too... you can even find yam in her garden!... Reared our own chicken and ducks! That was passed on to our parents' generation. And they were super eco-friendly. Theirs was an era where almost everything was recycled. Whatever leftover food (mainly bones) will not be thrown into the rubbish bin. We used to throw it for the chickens and ducks! .. and the occasional strays. Leftover rice became food for the poultry.
My generation still had some hands on experience to that sort of lifestyle. I had to help clean the chicken coop, help my dad inoculate the chickens and even slaughter them! My children will probably squirm at the very sight of live chickens. They only see dressed chicken. But my parents probably find my lifestyle wasteful by their standards. As I find my children wasteful too... which they really are because life has been good for them; the deterioration that comes with every subsequent generation. Recently a friend from Timor came back with tales of inadequacy - from the lack of such abilities; slaughtering chickens, skinning goats, etc.
I've attempted planting vegetables too; though not so much for the savings that comes with it but these days most commercially planted food are exposed to way too much pesticides and who knows what other stuff they put to make it grow bigger and faster! My parents' generation grew vegetable so that family expenses could be reduced, and to save.
As for the makan-makan... the oldies truly enjoyed the treat. Among the 3 of them, they finished most of the food! 8) Even our 80 plus year old aunty enjoyed the beef stew, lamb shank, buttered cod and chicken cordon bleu accompanied by shared cuppas between them. They still aren't in the habit of wasting! My kids would not have much qualms about eating at such establishments!