Sally Chan has bills to pay. Rent, utilities, internet. But she also has a social agenda to pursue.
With $200 of funds available, an overdue electricity bill to pay and an empty makeup palette, Sally makes the obvious decision. She pays her bills. But she also has dinner plans with her friends and with 2 hours to go until she has to leave, there is simply no time to borrow someone’s or find an alternative.
She spies an empty mi goreng packet from lunch, sitting on the kitchen sill. Staring at her. Enticing her.
No, surely no. But… what if…
Indomie Mi Goreng noodles come with two sachets of flavouring. The first sachet has three segments and carries the liquids: sweet soy sauce, chilli sauce, and seasoning oil with garlic flakes. Or to a very thrifty and desperate Sally Chan: mascara, blush and foundation.
The second sachet contains two segments: dry seasoning powder and flakes of fried shallot. For Sally, crush these flakes up and you have yourself a potent red lipstick paste.
She strongly hesitates. But then thinks, ‘Oh my, I think Allan might be there tonight’. She looks at her make up free face in the mirror and makes her decision. One migoreng packet will not be used for eating tonight.
Two hours are spent in the kitchen, carefully calibrating measurements of the sauces and applying them to her face. Chopsticks are used to crush the chilli flakes into a fine powder, a teaspoon used to thicken the soy sauce and garlic flakes into a paste and a measuring cup to obtain the correct seasoning oil quantity.
She reaches the restaurant in the nick of time. The end result? Strangely passable. Her friends greet her warmly, completely unaware that their friend’s face now resembles Malaysia’s most popular dish. Several extra sprays of her Chanel Gabrielle perfume is used to disguise the smell of peanut emanating from her head. Even Allan smiles at her warmly from across the table.
Yet as she freshens herself up in the restaurant toilet, she a drop of her peanut oil/soy-sauce based mascara dislodges and trickles down from her eye. Trickling down her face, like a lone tear.
Wiping it away, she quickly eats it and thinks poverty makes people do dark and strange things. Tomorrow is another day Sally, she tells herself. Tomorrow is another day.