Singapore Adventure

Saturday, April 08, 2006

by venitha

So I know that Asians love their rice, but is this really necessary?

In spite of such temptation as its newest product, the fàn-tastic (No kidding! No Mc, no capital f, a weird accent, and a superfluous hyphen. I don't get it either.), I have yet to dine at a McDonald's in Singapore. (In the interest of full-disclosure, I admit that Jim and I split a chocolate brownie from McDonald's sister store, McCafe, last year in a fit of overwhelming chocolate cravings; it was delicious.) Still, I feel a certain affinity with the place, not only because there are two, count them, two, life-size Ronald McDonald statues just across the street from our apartment (In spite of the suspicious resemblance, no, I am not mistaking Jim for Ronald; there's also a sitting Ronald statue, but Jim wouldn't let me post the picture of him on Ronald's lap), but also because it is at McDonald's that my own illustrious career began oh-so-many years ago.

I scarred myself at the french fry vat became a deep-frying expert, self-important managers prepared me for working as an engineer in Singapore lorded it over their college-bound underlings, and Uncle Sam prepared me for work as an engineer in the US took a shocking percentage of my paycheck. Back then, the world was a much less enlightened place in oh-so-many ways, and we promoted the test-marketed McFoods with, by today's standards, shockingly politically incorrect hats.
  • Hat #1: A coolie hat. You know, those conical straw hats (the McVersion was of course plastic) that you expect atop Asian rice farmers and that I have now actually seen real live people wearing and I don't mean at masquerade parties either. Alas, I did not take a picture. Alas and alack, I don't remember the McProduct that inspired the McCoolie hat. I'm positive, however, that it didn't involve buns of rice.

  • Hat #2: A red, white, and green pork-pie beret. The tragically unpopular McPizza was truly heinous, but I did like the hat. I'm almost certain that I stole was given one (one McBeret, that is) and when I unearth it from my Colorado basement, you'll be able to buy it on ebay.

Today's McDonald's appears to have succumbed to the pressure of a multi-culturally sensitive world, for the current baseball caps are no different from the boring standard. In addition, McDonald's appears to have doffed a crew hat or two to the health conscious world, because also now gracing its Singapore menu board is the Corn Cup (Again no Mc, and this time no weird accent/superfluous hyphen combo to compensate. Sheesh!).

McDonald's aside, corn in a cup is a popular street food in Asia, and while it doesn't compare to the grilled ears of corn dunked in vats of butter at Wisconsin summer festivals, it gets my dollars, my baht, and my ringgit. At Taiwan's Dan Shui Fisherman's Wharf, Jim and I mournfully lamented that the lone corn in cup stall, a cholesterol-free island in a artery-hardening sea of You Name It, We Deep-Fry It stands, iron egg shops, and yes, you guessed it, a McDonald's, was closed.