Wednesday, March 29, 2006

saved by a purple yam, or: SMS FIRE for ... fire

This bakery, Eng Bee Tin, is in Manila’s Chinatown area. When Eng Bee Tin, which specialises in hopia –Filipino pastries filled with sweet bean paste, sometimes flavored – was on the verge of going bankrupt, the owner, Gerry Chua, made a last-ditch attempt at salvage*. He started making purple yam (ube; pronounced “OO-bay”) hopia. They took off and Eng Bee Tin is now one of the most popular bakeries in the city.
* “salvage”, in Philippine English, can mean to kill someone and dispose of the body. The above is non-Philippine usage. Just in case you were wondering.

In a gesture of gratitude, Chua has donated four fire trucks to the local community. Four bright purple fire trucks. The true purpleness of the trucks isn’t obvious form this shot, but you get the idea:

And how to notify the fire department in case of a fire?

Phoning is for losers.

SMSing is huge (and cheap -- 1 peso, around A$0.03, per SMS) here. People SMS at any time of the day or night in any situation (movies, work meetings, lovemaking...). Meetings, appointments, restaurant and accommodation bookings -0 all can be set up using SMS alone. One of my workmates received the results of some medical tests by SMS.

And, yes, I was responsible for the amateurish blurring of the SMS number. Who knows what hijinks the thousands, nay, millions of readers of this blog might get up to if ... in the wrong hands ... the consequences ... horrible, horrible ... it just doesn't bear thinking about.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to find your blog on purple yam (called "ube" in Luzon and "ubi" in the Visayas and Mindanao). Been doing some technical work on the plant (a vine with heart-shaped leaves and delicate underground tubers, the marketable part) for many years and I am also collecting info about its market and utilization. Thanks a lot.

4:54 pm  
Blogger secret wombat said...

Happy to help, anon!

4:39 pm  

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