Sunday 24 April 2016

Too hot: Bad news for durian lovers, especially if you live in Choa Chu Kang

April has been the cruellest month for durian lovers and Choa Chu Kang residents.

Just my luck. I love durian and live in Choa Chu Kang.

You know how the weather has been even hotter than usual lately?

It’s so hot that you sort of understand why Felicia Chin looked almost nude at last Sunday’s Star Awards — to keep cool.

But while Rui En apologised that night for the “Do you know who I am” incident, some viewers would contend it was Chin who should have apologised for her see-through dress.

Who does she think she is? Ann Kok?

Blame it on the heat.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said the highest daily maximum temperature recorded in Singapore on Tuesday was 36 deg C and on Wednesday (until 3pm), it was 35.1 deg C.

Both were recorded in Choa Chu Kang.

I knew I should’ve moved to Bukit Batok!

At least the people there got a carnival last Sunday.

It was organised by People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai, who is campaigning for the by-election to be held on May 7 after Mr David Ong resigned as Bukit Batok MP over a “personal indiscretion”.

So in a way, Bukit Batok residents should really thank Mr Ong for the carnival.

While PAP was throwing a carnival, Singapore Democratic Party candidate Chee Soon Juan appeared to be literally “running” for election at Bukit Batok Nature Park.

He wrote: “It was like a sauna, hot and humid, but had a good morning workout.”

I know Dr Chee really wants to get into Parliament, but I don’t think it’s worth suffering heatstroke for.

It’s so hot that even our durian supply from Malaysia could be affected. A drop of up to 40 per cent is expected.

“The durian season starts in the next three months and half of my trees have failed to produce any flowers because of the weather,” a durian farmer in Perak told the Malay Mail.

And as if that’s not enough bad news for durian lovers, 76 cases of food poisoning related to durian pastries prepared at Goodwood Park Hotel have been reported since mid-March.

Taking time off from reminding us how hot it is, NEA has suspended the licence of the hotel bakery.

In response, the hotel posted on Facebook:
“Goodwood Park Hotel would like to extend our sincere apologies to all our guests affected by the temporary cessation of sales of durian pastries and other pastries produced by the hotel’s pastry kitchen.”
Notice the hotel didn’t apologise for the food-poisoning cases. It’s apologising for the inconvenience caused by the closure of its bakery.

The hotel also had a pop-up stall at Lot One mall last week.

A spokesman said: “Guests who purchased our durian pastries at Lot One from April 18 to 21 are advised to throw them away and contact the hotel for their refunds.”

Guess where Lot One mall is.

That’s right — Choa Chu Kang.

See how unlucky durian lovers in Choa Chu Kang are?

And to add insult to food poisoning, on Wednesday, our favourite fruit was dissed on American national TV.

US actress Jessica Chastain, who was in Singapore three weeks ago to promote The Huntsman: Winter’s War, brought out a durian on US talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Or as she pronounced it, “dorian”.

At first, she called it the king of fruit in Asia.

Then she said: “They call it the blue cheese of fruit.” That sounded like a demotion to me.

I mean, if someone called me “the king of writers”, I would think, yeah, sure, why not?

But if someone called me “the blue cheese of writers”, I would have to start counting the number of days since I last showered.

Chastain, a rare Caucasian who claims to love durian, even said: “It kind of smells like a garbage can, right?”

A photo posted by Jessica Chastain (@chastainiac) on

Calling it “foul” and “vile”, talk show host Kimmel said he felt like “throwing up a little bit” after some durian was shoved into his mouth by Chastain.

He then asked his sidekick Guillermo to take the remaining fruit and “throw it into the sea or something like that”.

Throw it into the sea? Doesn’t he know about the possible upcoming durian shortage caused by the heatwave?

T.S. Eliot was right when he wrote that April is the cruellest month. Who knew he was a durian fan too?

But I think I will read some Oscar Wilde next. Perhaps a novel — The Picture Of Durian Gray.

- Published in The New Paper, 24 April 2016