On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Of half-boiled eggs and half-baked moves

It’s a simple pleasure in life and certainly most Malaysians would describe our traditional breakfast as heavenly.

I am sure it’s a Malaysian creation. I still do not know why Singapore has not staked a claim on this brilliant culinary work.

Maybe Singapore refuses to be associated with anything that’s regarded as half-measured, half-done or half-boiled. But hey, our national tolerance for mediocrity is higher, so if it tastes good, who are others to tell us otherwise.

I do not know whether our penchant for half-boiled eggs has anything to do with the national psyche but let’s not allow jealous foreigners to divide us. We do not want Perkasa to turn this into a nationalist frenzy over half-boiled eggs and we certainly don’t want Ibrahim Ali to issue “ada telur” dares to imagined foes.

Half-boiled eggs would be frowned upon in Western countries, where most hotel kitchens refuse to accept such orders as the eggs would not be cooked according to the stipulated health requirements.

Westerners, who cannot stomach what we eat, feel they could be exposed to salmonella, the bacteria that can lead to food poisoning. So never bother asking for half-boiled eggs during your holidays overseas.

Besides, what’s half-boiled eggs without kicap?

Older Malaysians have been taught from young that to stay healthy, we should have two half-boiled eggs every morning. I really do not know how, when and why some medical experts suddenly concluded that eating eggs, especially with the yolks – the best part of the eggs – can ruin your health.

One large egg is said to have 213mg of cholesterol, all found in the yolk, and eating too much of it can lead to a high cholesterol level. That’s what was said in one story I googled.

But I have also read that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had a strict diet of 28 eggs a week plus steak, salads and her favourite tipple – whisky – each time she campaigned.

That’s according to personal documents published by the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust. She is turning 86 this year and we know for sure that this Iron Lady remains one of the best leaders the world has seen so far.

I am pretty sure Tony Blair and Gordon Brown didn’t like eggs. But I am convinced that Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen also eat plenty of eggs. They are sharp and look good. Gutsy, for sure, and they make many men politicians look like wimps.

Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo conti­nues to defy nature. But I’m not sure if it’s half-boiled eggs or tempeh, a popular Javanese soy product.

I do not know why but eggs always seem to fly in the direction of some politicians. Joining the fray over the award of Public Service Depart­ment (PSD) scholarships, maverick minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz has finally said the controversy should be discussed by taking into consideration the views of other parties, including the MCA and Gerakan.

He seems to miss the point – no one is saying that all PSD scholars should be sent overseas. What the applicants have complained about is that there have been those with less than 8A+, some allegedly with just 6A+, who have been sent overseas by the Government.

It does not matter what race or religion the applicants are but if you are not a top achiever, what are the possibilities of these scholars entering top schools like Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard or Imperial College London?

It does not make sense to use taxpayers’ money to admit them into middle or low-level universities.

Our grading system has already been questioned by top foreign universities. The high string of distinctions mean nothing to them now.

Yes, we are all aware the Prime Minister has promised that students who obtained 8A+ and above are eligible for PSD scholarships to study either locally or abroad. It’s a fantastic decision and everyone should be clear about it.

But procedures on scholarships should be clear and open. It really doesn’t make sense when there are mismatches, bad decisions and even questionable moves. It is precisely this resentment that has led to eggs being thrown at the faces of the PSD officials.

All the good intentions of the Government are now being affected because of these half-boiled, or rather half-baked, measures.