Sunday, March 04, 2007

Last night's clan outing took us to a $15 per head buffet at the All or Nothing Cafe in Geylang. I think it was more for curiosity that we chose the location. We wanted to see where my bro was working at, and what he actually did there. So 3 generations of family descended upon him, at his invitation, of course.

The cafe is mostly a front for an outreach programme catering to the lost and wayward in Geylang. It aims to befriend the people on the street and offer a beacon of hope in one of the darker areas in our city. The locals have already checked the place out, and have deemed it harmless. Some have even offered business advice and friendly intel about the neighbourhood.

The organization employs ex-cons, a la the Yellow Ribbon project. The cooking staff are also walk-ins, and before last night's dinner the night chef walked out, leaving a crisis in the kitchen that had to be resolved one way or another.

There's so much potential for clash and conflict in this real-life scenario that if they had a good scriptwriter observing their operations for a week, a new local sit-com will be making its way to prime-time TV very soon.

Not an ex-con himself, my bro takes his job there as a full-time CIP. His job-scope is to do whatever's necessary. Waiter, receptionist, dishwasher, cashier, stage-actor, whatever. He was also prepared to take over the kitchen in place of the departed night chef, but thankfully the day chef was persuaded to take the night duty as well.

Dinner isn't usually buffet style. The cafe is more used to a la carte zi-cha, but last night was a celebration in honour of Purim. During dinner, the staff dramatized the biblical story of Esther to explain how this Jewish festival came about. Let's just say they have very little experience with theatre, and leave it at that.

It's nice that the family could get together again so quickly after the chili crab incident. Gatherings of the paternal clan are always fun.

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