There is something in Bekasi that brings out the magpie in me whenever I chance upon something that I am fond of. Being a collector is nothing new for me, but I mostly collected books and, at one point, shoes until my mother put a moratorium on my shoe-spending and made me swear not to enhance my collection. I just now replace some old ones.
But Bekasi has had me starting new collections, which would make most people raise their eyebrows in incredulity. My liking, for example, for couscous had me starting a collection of couscous during my early years in Bekasi. It was unheard of so I would have a former flat mate of mine carting boxes of those for me when she’d drop by for a visit from Singapore. Now, fortuitously, couscous is ubiquitous and has become a permanent fixture in the supermarket shelves of Bekasi. After couscous, I found myself collecting this particular brand of Japanese green tea which was so commonplace in Singapore, but oh-so-rare in Bekasi. Carrefour carried it but its availability was unpredictable as a windstorm; it would take months before the stock could be replenished. This was recently followed by a collection of the Nature’s Bakery raspberry fig bars that I serendipitously chanced upon Farmer’s Market at Grand Metropolitan Mall. The stock is dwindling and heaven knows when it will be replenished again. Following the fig bars is a short-lived collection of Starbucks’s bottled Frappuccino. I am stretching my Starbucks Frappuccino because I’m down to my last two bottles. My last trip to Farmer’s Market left me so dismayed because the shelf where the bottles of mocha and coffee Frappuccino used to be had been completely replaced by a collection of bottled milk tea from Thailand.