The company I work for has recently published a guideline on what not to share in a social networking environment, which includes personal websites I suppose. It is now officially out of the question to post the photo of that huge condom machine commonly found inside our office toilets a while ago. Because that is a photo taken inside the building and we are not allowed to share it to the public. Too bad. It is one of the cutest condom machines I have seen.
In any case, I am a small fry inside this gigantic organization. You don’t expect me to write in a coded message from now on, do you?
* * * * *
One day, as Dooku hikes along yet another random country road looking for something to earn a living, he spots a sign saying: Maize Farmer Wanted. What does Dooku know about farming maize? No matter. His stomach is growling and anything is better than taking another hike the next day, and the day after.
It is a simple business. At the end of the farming season, Dooku delivers the maize to the factories that turn the maize into different products used by the restaurants nearby. Dooku works closely with the restaurant owners and knows precisely their requirements, what is needed for each of their dishes. Juicy, fresh, and pest free maize grown to the highest quality, Dooku takes pride in farming maize even though it is quite a brainless job compares to what he did in the past. Dooku has become one with his maize.
For reasons beyond Dooku’s comprehension, the factory owners have taken over the farms. One day, a representative from one of the factories knocks on Dooku’s door. Dooku being a good host invites this stranger inside and offers him a piece of sweet corn tart.
“We should not be farming maize. In fact, if it is up to us, the restaurant owners should send in their waiters and waitresses to farm maize,” says the stranger with a smile. “If I don’t farm maize, what else can I do?” asks Dooku. The stranger continues with his smile and offers no further explanation.
Perplexed and confused, Dooku works even harder trying to focus not on the uncertainty. The next day, the factory owners have sent in a few of their workers who doubled as maize farmers. Dooku feels even more perplexed. At the end of yet another farming season, Dooku compares his maize to those grown by the factory workers. Clearly they are different. In no way the restaurant owners would not notice! His is juicy, fresh and pest free while others are not as juicy and not as big.
One evening, Dooku has decided to disguise himself as a dining customer and investigate. He has talked to other customers and he has talked to the kitchen staffs in an attempt to find out if the sweet corn supplied by him is indeed better than others. One chef shakes his head and says, “You see, these are canned food. All canned food tastes the same. Unlike wine that is characterized by the year and region, a can of sweet corn is just a can of sweet corn. It is merely a mean to an end. In this case, it is not the sweet corn that makes this dish famous. It is the freshness of crab meat, the right amount of flour and water, my secret seasoning, together with a can of sweet corn that makes people wanting to pay for this bowl of soup. Understand? These are canned food. Not wine.”
Deflated, Dooku is feeling smaller and smaller. As though going through a merciless machinery that processes food of one form to another, Dooku finds himself breaking into pieces. Soon he finds elements of him trapped inside a huge cylinder mixed with elements of others. The last thing he sees is a lid that seals the container. And then, all Dooku can see is darkness, homogeneously coexists with others.
The next morning, Dooku is nowhere to be found. In the afternoon, a new sign is erected. And it says: Maize Farmer Wanted.
* * * * *
Working as a chef you would imagine taking order only from the restaurant owner and the customers. Not for Chef Dooku.
A waiter, a demanding waiter whom in Dooku’s eyes looks more like a stranger in this restaurant than someone who serves food to the customers walks into the kitchen. “We need the Royal Seafood Platter,” says the waiter with a smile. “Today,” adds he. Seafood is not in season. Neither does the restaurant has the right ingredients for this grand dish! Dooku tries to reason with the waiter but the waiter stands his ground and says, “We need the Royal Seafood Platter, today.”
“But who will be ordering it?” asks Dooku. “No one is ordering Royal Seafood Platter in this time of the year!” adds Dooku. The waiter consults with another waitress and in unison, they say, “Royal Seafood Platter, today!”
Dooku has seen this before. And he is seeing it now. Who is going to eat the dish, even if he manages to cook it? Dooku is a hard worker. He seldom complains. First, he drops by the nearest aquarium store and buys some goldfish. Next, he visits the garden by the restaurant and pulls out some weeds. With his magical hands, in-depth knowledge, and a few good drops of sweat from his forehead, Dooku works throughout the day to create this signature dish called Royal Seafood Platter.
Feeling satisfied, Dooku rings the bell notifying the pair of waiter and waitress that the dish is ready. Minutes have passed and the dish still sits on the same place waiting to be served. Minutes become hours and in closing hour, Royal Seafood Platter is served into the trash bin. Like before.
Days later, Dooku has to dash to the nearest aquarium store and buy some goldfish, for yet another Royal Seafood Platter that he bets nobody will eat. Not because the dish is bad, but it is not something people eat in this time of year. After the purchase, instead of heading straight to the restaurant, Dooku stops and asks the store owner, “Do you care what happens to your goldfish once they leave your store?”
The store owner looks Dooku into his eyes and replies,”Look, my job is to supply you with goldfish when you need some. In return, I get paid for selling them to you. Whether you display them in your living room, or replace them as you are supposed to keep the original ones alive while their owners are on holiday, or feed them to bigger fish, it is none of my business.”
That evening, Dooku has a dream. In his dream, the goldfish are different. They have faces that resemble the faces of the pair of waiter and waitress! To a skilled chef, this poses as no challenge in making his legendary Royal Seafood Platter. Dooku reckons that this time round, the dish may taste somewhat different. May even be better. But who would know? No one is eating it anyway.