It was 6 in the morning on a Sunday, Mei Yen was still in bed when her father knocked on her door to wake her up.
“Girl, wake up. We are going to have breakfast at the kopitiam (coffee shop). Get up and wash up. We are leaving in 20 minutes,” her father said from outside her room door.
Unknowingly that Mei Yen was already awake as this has been her family’s routine to have breakfast at the kopitiam every Sunday morning.
“Okay, daddy,” she replied her father as she got up to make her bed before going to brush her teeth.
Breakfast with her family at the kopitiam was always something Mei Yen looked forward to as she would always enjoy the good food and drinks while spending time with her parents and siblings.
It was a time of bonding between each family member and Mei Yen was often intrigued by the stories her father had told her about his childhood days.
Upon reaching the kopitiam, Uncle Lee, the owner of the coffee shop was busy making a hot cup of coffee for a customer.
He noticed the arrival of Mei Yen and her family and got one of his helpers to usher them to table.
“Be right there, Mr. Chong,” he said as he served his customer the cup of coffee.
Mei Yen and her family were regular customers to Uncle Chong’s kopitiam, where he knew them by their names personally.
“What would you like to have today, Mr. and Mrs. Chong? And what about you three young ladies,” he asked the Chong family.
“I will have my usual, taukeh (boss),” said Mr. Chong while Mrs. Chong ordered a teapot of chrysanthemum tea.
Mei Yen’s two younger sisters ordered their favourite morning hot drink, Milo while Mei Yen wanted to try something different today.
“Uncle Lee, can I get a cup of Horlicks?” she asked.
“Sure, you can, Mei Yen. So, it will be one white coffee kow (strong), one pot of chrysanthemum tea and two hot Milos. What about something to eat?” Uncle Lee replied as he took down their orders in his pocketsize 555 notebook.
“Get us our usual, half-boiled eggs, toast and kaya please,” Mei Yen’s father said to Uncle Lee. He then turned to ask Mei Yen and her sisters if they would like anything else.
The three girls decided to just have what their father had ordered, however, Mei Yen asked, “Can we dapao (take away) some of the Uncle Lee’s fried meehoon (vermicelli) for lunch later?”
Her father nodded in agreement as he told Uncle Lee to pack the noodles for later.
Can you recall your visit to the kopitiam with your family as a child? Do you always look forward to having to spend quality time with your family over breakfast with simple yet delicious food?
It once used to be one the of popular hangout places for the early risers where you’d often see the elderly happily chatting away for hours while having their hot cup of coffee or tea. Sometimes, if it is not too busy, the kopitiam owners would join in the conversations as well.
Today, we are either at cafes or restaurants but are we actually bonding with each other or are we too occupied with our devices? In the good old days, we spent more time conversing with each other face-to-face. Take some time to put down your smartphone or tablet and have a good old conversation with your loved ones.