Jinwah walked through the lunch time crowd at the food centre.
He was in his school uniform, shouldering his heavy backpack.
His school books were so heavy that he always felt as if he was carrying a
boulder on his back.
He was tired and weary but the thought of his parents working hard,
under the smoke-filled condition of the food centre, made him go there every day after school.
His parents were hawkers, selling what Jinwah thought was the best fried Hokkien prawn noodles in the North of Singapore.
His mother's fatigued face greeted him as he walked up to stall No.19.
Her hair looked greasy from all the frying and her forehead was beaded with sweat,
but she always had a white towel at hand to dry off.
Even before Jinwah had time to set his backpack down, more orders were coming in for the noodles.
The queue was almost
snaking round the corner,
but Jinwah was not disturbed. Such a lunch time crowd was normal.
Almost immediately, he was on his feet, scurrying about, bringing the customers their noodles.
Jinwah's mother was grateful for her son's presence because it meant that business would be brisk.
Jinwah's favourite part of his busy day helping his parents was after dinner,
when they closed the stall for the day. Before closing, the whole family would gather and eat their dinner.
There, he could have as much fried prawn noodles as he liked, with
heaps of prawns and squids.