Over the past weekend, much of Singapore has been busy gorging themselves on sweet snacks, buttery cookies and fizzy drinks while catching up with friends and families. With disruption being the new keyword, I wondered how receptive would people be, if ancient time-tested traditions started going the way of the Dodo.
Here's some ideas anyway.
#1 - Healthy Snacks Over The Usual Confectionary And Snacks
The simplest of ideas is potentially the hardest, since it upends decades of belief that the pineapple tarts, kueh bangkit and other local cookies and buttery confectionary are must-haves on the dining table. Restaurants, hotels, cafes and bakeries make a killing every year during this season, charging $30 for a plastic can of tarts that would otherwise go for $10.
Meanwhile, everyone reasons that their diet can take a backseat during this holiday season, because it's once a year, right? Well, besides the mooncake festival (716 kcal/mooncake!), the annual D&D feast, the Christmas feast, the Hari Raya snacks, the Deepavali sweets, the regular company lunches, the welcome / farewell treats, the occasional wedding feast etc, of course.
So eating healthy isn't in our lifestyle, or at least we do have a lot of reasons to cheat on it regularly. How about starting to change our mindset on festive snacks? Crackers and cheese instead of sugar-powdered sugar cookies, chocolate wafers instead of whole chocolates, fruit salad instead of fruit gummies and so on? Sure it might be tad more expensive for some alternatives, but it's worth a try... and to disrupt the big o' Big Sugar industry and their buttery counterparts!
#2 - The Yusheng
With Singapore staking a claim over its invention, I gotta tread carefully here. It's a decently healthy dish no doubt, but it's overpriced in restaurants, and it's more or less the same. Time to change up and make things interesting!
How about changing the ingredients with a theme? For those with a sweet tooth (yes, I know what I said in #1. Just let me finish...), how about a local dessert version to finish off a meal. The green strands - chendol. The red strands - jelly. The black ones - grass jelly. The sugar orange peels can stay. The carrots and radishes replaced with strands of sweet potato and aloe vera, and I'm thining like those from a bowl of Bur Bur Cha Cha. Maybe some sea coconut to replace strands of something else. Top up with gula melaka, some coloured syrup from ice kachang, and maybe chocolate sauce.
Disgusting? Maybe. But I'm sure that's what they said about yusheng way back in the early days as well.
Italian themed. Use angel hair as the base, and add olive oil, all sorts of mushrooms, truffles, herbs, spices, and tomato sauce. Serve as a main dish.
BBQ themed. Use carrots as the base. Add slices of sausages, strands from stingray meat, more strands from shredded chickens and maybe some grilled pineapple to balance the flavour with sweetness. Splash hickory sauce, tangy sauce, some lime, some ketchup, saying th usual auspicious phrases. Serve warm as a main dish.
#3 - Angpows
We tell kids to be financially savvy, to prepare for the future, and all that. And then they get cold, hard cash to spend after Chinese New Year.
How about introducing financial literacy by giving them physical stocks? Sure, they wouldn't appreciate it, but it does force them to figure out what third aunt gave them, on some paper document with loads of words on it. In today's digital markets, perhaps the CDP can hold the stocks for them until they can start managing their own portfolio, and I'm sure companies will be glad to hold the stocks in escrow while making some money off them helping other traders short-sell.
It's all theoretical, very unconventional, but it sure beats making kids watch a boring 30 minute video or play some app that "kinda" teaches them how to "own part of a company" and make money from it.
These ideas might be lame. Hell, some of it might be ahead of its time - years ago I toyed with carpooling for people running around house visiting. Today we have GrabHitch and Uberpool. Some ideas might seems like heresy, challenging centuries of traditions, only for us to realise it was all a gimmick from a few years back.
Culture and practices are always evolving, and just for fun, some funky ideas might make a happy festive holidays even happier - at the expense of inefficient businesses, environmentally unfriendly practices and overpriced goods and products.
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Mostly startup and tech stuff. An occasional rant or two. Travel-related articles are published on my other blog.