Thursday, October 13, 2005

Asia Dispatch Week: Catfights, Prawn Heads

Filed Wednesday, 10/12/2005, 9:35 AM by Kirin Sapporo
Location: Singapore

Was eating a bowl of prawn noodle soup outside at one of the small restaurants at the Hokku center when I got in the middle of a catfight. And I’m not talking about some Long Island tramps clawing at each other over some Wall Street banker/douchebag. I mean actual cats.

Hokku center is the name for a marketplace where they have little booths with all kinds of different foods: Indian, Vietnamese, Malay, Pakistani, Chinese, you name it. It looks like a farmers market, with indoor/outdoor spaces and bright, backlit signs showing every kind of food imaginable. After a few passes through, I settled on the noodle prawn place.

In New York, whenever you eat outside, squirrels and pigeons inevitably come at you begging for food. At this Hokku center, it was cats from a nearby park. And a lot of them. I would look down only to find a tabby-looking beast staring up at me offering baleful looks. Then another one would come. And another, until there were seven or eight of them at my feet.

As with pigeons and squirrels, I tried to not pay any attention to them. And then all of a sudden, two started hissing, growling, and generally going ape shit while staring each other down. I lazily stared at one, then the other. They seemed to get the hint that they were bugging the shit out of me. One by one, they started to walk away, but the first one that came over lay at my feet. So I threw her a prawn head that she happily ate, and all was good.


"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles to discarded prawn heads vanish."

[Ed. note: apologies to John Quincy Adams]


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