Title: Century Egg
Publisher: Math Paper Press
“A century egg sucks the alkaline from the clay; the sinsei says the eggs will suck the poison from her veins.” – Samantha Toh, Black Eyes
When you see a century egg, many adjectives come to your head. Words like weird, culture, different, or even comfort may pop up. Second in Math Paper Press’s Twenty-Four Flavours, Century Egg serves to combine local stories, and one of the most prominent foods in Asia.
Like Sushi, the stories of Century Egg do not only feature this food, but unravel slowly, like you would with the husk of a Century Egg.
Adan Jiminez and Verena Tay start and end the anthology talking about the issue of online dating, featuring the Century Egg itself. Other relatable anecdote-like stories include Ann Ang’s “One Hundred Years”, talking about kiasuism and how people would go through a no-waste-at-all-costs time, Samantha Toh’s “Black Eyes”, which speak about familial desperation in crucial periods, or Krishna Udayasankar’s “l’oeuf Conquers All”, pointing out cross-cultural differences and unions (bonus points to an absolutely great pun of a title!)
Delle Chan’s mystification of the origin of the Century Egg brings a nice fantastical twist to the collection as well. However, my favourite still has to be Malcom & Maureen Yeo’s “Waiting”, a short and sweet three-line piece that is hilarious and probably depicts a conversation many of us have heard at least more than once.
So that’s Century Egg for you and for now, I do look forward to the rest of Twenty-Four Flavours!
You can find out more about Twenty-Four Flavours here.