Monday, 7 January 2019

I ate McDonald’s Salted Egg Yolk Loaded Fries and didn't vomit (But someone else did?)

There’s an old saying: One man’s salted egg yolk loaded fries is another man’s dead lizard in a pack of Irvins salted egg fish skin.

That has never been more true than last week, when McDonald’s introduced its Salted Egg Yolk Loaded Fries.

I enjoyed the fries, but for others, they might as well have eaten a lizard.

And it was mostly the latter group that swamped the comments section on the McDonald’s Facebook page.

A sample rant:
“McDonald!!!!!! You call this salted egg?!!! Or do you mean SALTED FISH?!!!!! Not a single bit of salted egg taste!!! It tasted like salted fish instead!!!!!! It tasted sour and salty at the same time? It’s damn gross can!??!! Super duper disappointing!!!”
I think the planet ran out of exclamation points after that comment.

Another compared the fries unfavourably to drain water:
“Remember that time we caught a tilapia and the water from the longkang went in my mouth? Yeah after eating this I think the longkang water taste better.”
The most on-trend comment:
“Food review: McDonald’s salted egg yolk loaded fries tasted like YouTube rewind 2018.”
The most meta comment:
“Muahahaha... reading all these comments tastes much better than the food itself.”
I was taken aback by how angry some of the posts are. It’s almost as if McDonald’s killed their dog in its pet boarding facility or something.

That people paid over $4 for the Salted Egg Yolk Loaded Fries (a la carte) probably didn’t help.

It’s more expensive than the Golden Salted Egg Milk Foam Tea from Gong Cha but cheaper than the Salted Egg Lava Brown Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk from Liho.

Yes, salted egg is in everything now. And they don’t all come with lizard.

Still, some who ate the McDonald’s Salted Egg Yolk Loaded Fries claimed the food made them nauseous.

One wrote:
“Just had this 10 mins ago at AMK branch in AMK gardens. I vomited at the carpark outside. Feeling sick after eating this.”
McDonald’s actually replied to the comment:
“Thanks for highlighting this to us and we’re sorry to hear about your experience. Could you please share with us via private message your contact number and e-mail address? We’d like to look into this and get in touch.”
Another person just compared it to puke:
“Is it supposed to smell and taste like vomit?”
Not passing up a chance to throw rocks at a rival drowning in salted egg yolk sauce, Burger King also joined in the comments:
“We know, the clown did it again. Yet another blunder. Here at Burger King, we never mess with our fries. That is why you should totally get our Cheesy Fries for only $2.50.”
To which someone responded:
“Burger King Singapore comment totally uncalled for, tasteless n only jeopardizing ur reputation no matter how bad the sauce is. It is alright for consumers to express their discontentment but not u, commenting bluntly on ur competitor’s page.”
But another commentator defended BK:
“This happens all the time between the fast food outlets in the US though. Carl’s Junior will poke at BK or McDonald’s, Jack in the Box will poke at Carl’s and so on. It’s quite funny when they do it right.”
Surprisingly, the biggest winner in the McDonald’s Facebook fries fracas is not the King but the Colonel, who stayed out of the fray, thanks to customers’ posts like this:
“Ordered KFC cheese fries and it tastes sssoooo good!! just to counter back the horrible Mcd salted egg fries.”
Another winner is McDonald’s itself because one thing the comments also highlight is how much people really miss the restaurant chain’s usual festive offering this time of year:
“Cancel all that and just BRING OUT THE PROSPERITY BURGER & CURLY FRIES EARLY. No need to wait for Chinese New Year.”

To bring it full circle, the most ironic comment may be this:
“Please give me back my money, Mcdonalds!!! If you don’t know the real taste of salted egg yolk, go and buy a packet of Irvins salted egg and know the real taste of salted egg!!!”
But perhaps this final comment best explains why people are so salty over McDonald’s Salted Egg Yolk Loaded Fries:
“Secret ingredient not there... no gecko taste.. no wonder everybody is so pissed off.. haha.”

- Published in The New Paper, 7 January 2019

Monday, 24 December 2018

Asbestos or no asbestos, please don't call me Johnson Baby Powder

My parents never gave me a Christian name.

I’m guessing it might be because we’re not Christians.

But I still celebrate Christmas. That is, if you can call shopping for Christmas presents for myself celebrating Christmas.

Anyway, I don’t have a Christian name, but when I was in primary school, I really wanted one. I was jealous of classmates with such cool names as “Gordon” and “Rebecca”.

So I decided to just give myself a Christian name. My first choice was “Peter” because that was what a neighbour called me once for some reason. But I felt that “Peter Ong” was too plain and not magnificent enough.

So one day, I wrote on the cover of my exercise book “Peter Johnson Ong”.

Of course, at that age, I didn’t know I had inadvertently selected two words that also happened to be euphemisms for the penis as my self-given Christian names. I might as well just called myself “Dick Willie Ong”.

But I was too young to be aware of the unfortunate genitalia-related meaning of my newly adopted handle to be embarrassed by it. No, the source of my humiliation would be more unexpected.

As my teacher was returning homework to the class, she came across a name she had never seen before. Puzzled, she asked the class: “Who is Peter Johnson Ong?”

Suddenly hearing it said out loud by someone else for the first time, I realised how ridiculous the name sounded.

I reluctantly raised my hand.

“Oh,” my teacher said. “I didn’t know I have a new student.”

The class laughed. I wanted to die.

As she handed me my exercise book, she asked: “Why ‘Peter Johnson Ong’?”

I was too numb to speak.

Then someone yelled out: “Johnson Baby Powder!”

The class laughed even harder. I died and went to Haw Par Villa hell.

After that, I removed “Peter Johnson” from all my exercise books, but for the next few days, my nickname in class was Johnson Baby Powder.

Worse still, every time I rubbed Johnson’s Baby Powder into my armpits for the last 40 years or so, I’m reminded of that childhood shame.

I tried switching to other brands of talc, but Johnson & Johnson is usually the cheapest.

Yes, I would rather relive that painful, ignominious moment over and over again than spend a couple of bucks more.

So I had mixed feelings when I read last week that Johnson & Johnson lost a US$4.7 billion (S$6.4 billion) lawsuit to 22 women who blamed their ovarian cancer on asbestos in the US company’s baby powder and other talc products.

On the one hand, it was about time Johnson & Johnson got punished for my primary school trauma.

On the other hand, I have been using Johnson's Baby Powder all my life. Am I going to get ovarian cancer?

To my relief, on Saturday, Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority said it did not find any asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder or other talc products sold here.

Now if only the cruel, cruel memory I associate with the baby powder could be absent too.

I probably wouldve been better off if I had just called myself Dick Willie Ong.

- Published in The New Paper, 24 December 2018

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Someone on Carousell wanted to buy my My Melody holder for $1,001? Real or not?

As I wrote in my column, I listed my McDonald's My Melody holder for sale on Carousell for $1,001.

On Monday, I received a Carousell chat message from someone called blurt_apparels_zambrut:

Of course, I was suspicious. What sane person would pay $1,001 for the thing?

But I accepted what the person wrote in good faith. So I replied:

It all seemed to easy. But if you have bought or sold anything on Carousell before, you should know that if you want to confirm buying something, you have to click or tap the MAKE OFFER button. My would-be buyer had not done that.

Using the button allows both buyer and seller to provide feedback on each other on the tranaction.

So I messaged him:

At this point, I still wasn't if the buyer was for real, but I was curious enough to play along to see how far it would go.

What was the worst that could happen? He doesn’t show up and it was all a prank?

His (I assume he's male) Carousell profile seemed legit:

The feedback on him is positive:

And he even has a Facebook page.

So I went to Braddell MRT station on time and this was our chat:

I never heard from him again.


So this person went so far as to string me along for five more minutes with one last message before cutting me off.

As much as I half expected it, I felt duped. My faith in humanity was destroyed.

Did he feel justified in pranking me because my $1,001 Carousell listing came across as a joke?

I could easily retaliate against him since his Carousell and Facebook profiles are public.

But I just took it as a lesson learnt.

Next time someone wants to buy from me, I will insist that the person use the MAKE OFFER button.

And I couldn’t believe what happened next.

Within half an hour, someone used the MAKE OFFER button and offered me $800 for the My Melody holder.

The catch is that I had to deliver it to him right away.

At this point, I assumed it was another prank. He may be in cahoots with the first guy since it came so soon after the first prank. It may even be the same guy.

It was as if he knew I wouldn’t fall for it again unless he used the MAKE OFFER button.

I declined the offer.

So he raised his offer. Twice.

Now it really looked like a prank. So I stopped responding to him.

To my amazement, two hours later, he actually sent me an angry message for not responding to him.

And that was the end of that.

What a stressful day.

Someone commented on my Carousell listing: "His intention is not to sell the Melody but to promote his blog via Carousell by linking his blog website in the one & only listing."

That would mean I went through a lot of trouble just to promote this blog.

Look, if anyone is really willing to pay $1,001 for my My Melody, I would be insane to say no.

But after what happened, I just can't trust people any more.

EARLIER: I'm selling my McDonald's My Melody holder on Carousell for $1,001


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