Saturday, June 5, 2010


In the town Sarikei, in Sarawak Borneo, where my Dad worked for some years as the Divisional Education Officer, the pineapple is the mascot. This tall statue stands at the waterfront.

I grew up in Borneo and we lived in Sibu town. My Grandpa had a rubber small holding where he grew almost everything. It was like a paradise farmlet. We loved visiting him in the holidays, we swam in the Rejang river, climbed all sorts of fruit trees. He had patches of pineapple clumps.

We used to steal his green pineapples. We didn't unterstand why he was so protective of his pineapples as there were heaps of fruits. It was only as adults, when my siblings reminsced about Grandpa's pineappes did we realise why he was so protective. He was actually protecting us.

The green pineapple hurts our throats and tongues after we ate them. It made our tongues and throats so itchy and nothing could help. We also had to run to his outhouse. We sheepishly went to Grandpa and confess we stole his green pineapples.

Sarawak is famous for her "Sarawak Pineapple." When I went to live in Singapore, they started selling them for S$12 each. The Singaporean say this is such a good pineapple, they didn't mind paying a fortune for it. Whenever I visited sarawa, they would ask me to take some for them. I said," I wasn't going to lug the pineapples back when they could buy them there. All good things must come to an end, some smart alec smuggled some seedlings and grew them in Thailand. The Thai Sarawak pineapples sold for a friction of the price of the real McCoy.

This Sarawak pineapple is one foot long. There are different types and I still regard my Grandpa's as the best. It is not soft and soggly but is crunchy. Grandpa's property was reclaimed by the Government and the days of our youth remain in our heads.

The pineapple skin is usually discarded. They are useless. In the Philippines, they now use them for making paper. My sister in law believes in organic and health food. She makes a brew with fruit skins especially citrus and pineapple skins with some sugar. The resulting brew is added to her floor cleaning detergent. This brew serves dual purposes, it removes the artificial harmful chemicals in the detergent and gives a fruity fragrance to your floor and room.

Arriving from a cold winter to a scorching 32 degrees in Singapore, these slices of Sarawak pineapple are very refreshing and thirst quenching.

Pineapple is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Its nutrients include calcium, potassium, fiber, and vitamin C. We knew from Grandpa's days that if you are constipated, or in our lingo, heaty, the pineapple will help you move your bowels. It is low in fat and cholesterol. As pineapple is rich in manganese, a trace mineral that is needed for your body to build bone and connective tissues, health practitioners say it is good for your bones.

Finally, I am letting the cat out of the bag, something the girls knew long ago. If you ate too much pineapples when you are pregnant, you will get an abortion.

This cut pineapple is from Philipines. I brought this to my school when it was my turn to bring the "Munchies" on Friday morning. The difference between a Philippines pineapple is the skin is very thin. The New Zealanders serve them in the skin. I am still not used to that, and I peel the skin off. Old habits die hard, and Grandpa used to say, it the skin touches your mouth, that's when the sap cause the itchiness in your throat.

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