Monday, October 18, 2010

Hot Chef Reads Book

After featuring my friend, Nicholas, on his birthday a few days ago, it struck me that I should extend such posts and keep doing it. I realized I do have quite a few male friends who love reading! And you know what is the best part? They have agreed to be featured here! I hope you will enjoy them all.

In this post, I am happy to introduce you to Chris, another great friend of mine who resides in Singapore with his lovely wife. As you can see here, he is quite chatty and even threw in a self-interview. And, and, and, imagine him typing this WHOLE post on his cell phone!

Please join me in welcoming Chris!

Hmmm... I've received a message from Alice inviting me to write something about Hot Guy Reads Book. Oh well, although I work in a "hot" place I'm certainly for one ain't that "hot".

A bit about Alice first, I've known her for many years now... and I must say she has certainly changed over time... from the quiet timid Alice (Me: Timid you say?!?!) to the bolder outspoken Alice (Me: I've succeeded in conning a dear friend of my true nature. HURRAH!).

OK, now back to the topic. First of all, forgive me for any spelling/hammer mistakes (Me: Don't worry about it, Chris, because I've taken care of it to the best of my ability.) because I'm writing this narrative entirely on my phone, and yes, it's those ancient press-button type of phone... with an infected thumb caused by seashells-borne bacteria.


My name is Chris, I'm not yet a Chef (Me: But in my mind you already are), but I aspire to be one in the near future (Me: Did I tell you Chris is really humble?). Previously I was lecturing/designing in the local Uni in Singapore before I made this jump into the F&B industry. It was a huge career change and so was the impact.

Me reading "The Twin"

So still in the past, I only started actively reading when I settled down in Spore. I'm a migrant from neighboring Malaysia. Back in Malaysia, yea I still read but passively, it's just newspapers, magazines and occasional autobiographies.

  1. Because books in Malaysia are super expensive.
  2. Libraries are ill-equipped.
  3. Half of the popular bookstores sell more stationery than books.
  4. Most Malaysians have access to cable TV (ME: Not me...) and they love torrents, so reading just became something of the past.
Fast forward to the present, as someone who spends most of his time in the kitchen I can only tend to my personal needs before or after work.

So now I think you can understand why I'm writing this using my phone and not a lappie, because I'm "eating snake" (a Chinese saying meaning resting when you shouldn't) in between tasks and taking this opportunity to pen as much as I can. (Me: I really appreciate the time you took to write this. Thanks, Chris!)

OK, back to the topic, so... in other words, as much as I love to read I can only do it before I get to work and just before I sleep.

I usually have my breakfast at KFC and it's there where I spend about 40 minutes reading. Another favourite reading place is IKEA but I'll only go there bi-monthly. I'll also catch up on reading during bus/train rides.

I also coined the term "RTS" (Read to Sleep) so this is where I read a totally different book just before I fall asleep. These bedtime books are usually the hardcovers, of unusual sizes, heavy, with scandalous titles/pictures that makes carrying it around tedious (Me: Nice way of terming it, Chris. I know what you read!).

I usually wear bermudas when I'm out (naked when I'm around the house) and I'll always carry a book wrapped in clear plastic in my left side pocket for easy access.

Every day I carry my book covered in clear plastic to protect it from the elements (that's my knife)

At this point, Am I boring you? I've no idea why Alice wants to know more about another "reader" but a task is a task... So I'm continuing...

(Me: Thank you, Chris, you're doing a mighty fine job here, so please continue *wink*)

So, as u can see my reading time is actually rather limited; hence, for a 300 to 500 pages book I'll take weeks or months just to finish one book! This is the only reason why I cannot borrow books from the library.

OK, let me now become the interviewer. (Me: Told you he interviewed himself!)

Where do you usually buy books?
I don't earn much as a low level cook, so I buy them at book fairs ($10 for 3), closing down sales or offers by the shop. (Me: I do that, too, and I think you're doing a very smart thing.) On rare occasions I'll buy them at face value as a treat to myself.

OK, so you're a cheapo, then what kind of genre are you into?
I try to read everything but there's a few that I love: autobiographies, Eastern romanticism, mystery/thriller, porn (just joking! I meant poetry).

How do you choose what books to buy?
There's a rule I usually follow. If a book has been nominated or won any awards then I'll consider it. Most times it's hearsay of what people mention.

Do you know how many books you have?
Er... I don't but just like everyone else it's never enough. And like many of you readers out there I'm sure your library, too, is over-stacked with tons of unread books. I do, however, catalog every single book so I know not to make duplicate purchases.

Please do tell more how you catalog your books?
Oh well, it's like when I get a new book, I for one, don't even mind if the book is in poor condition. I'll write down its details in this very phone and place my first seal on the top right corner. Any subsequent reads I'll add another chop. If I have the receipt I'll stick it at the end of the book.

My seal on every single book

OK, that sounds awful boring. Do you dog ear or bookmark?
I work in the kitchen, we're rough people. I dog eared all my books. I'll also dog ear the bottom page for future references.

Who do you find sexier? Man or Woman who reads?
WTF (Me: Hey, no swearing!) kind of question is this? I prefer a lady reading while playing with her hair. :-)

Do you have a favourite book/author?
Yes, it's Michael Connelly for all his thriller novels. I used to like Amy Tan's writings but recently I'm leaning towards Lisa See. I'll take the effort to hunt and complete all the author series if I really like them. I don't have a favorite book yet because when I finished one, I think it's the best until I've read another.

Lastly, what book(s) are you reading now?
The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker and The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. (Me: The Prophet is in my wish list too!)

Trivia: My wife doesn't like me reading in her presence; she said I'm not giving her enough attention due to my long working hours. So, fair enough, I'll devote what little time I have to just hold her hand.

Chris, thank you so much for spending the time to do this. I really appreciate it. I look forward to seeing you again in Singapore this Wednesday!