Saturday, October 8, 2011

Old Tea Pot

While washing up the coffee pot this morning an old story came to mind.

On a five-foot-way of good old Penang's Heritage enclave, some 'uncles' were having a leisurely tea session when who should walk by but an 'angmoh' tourist toting a back pack.  He was looking high and low taking in every little detail of the quaint scenery.

As he got close to where the old uncles were seated, he paused and stared at an old and brown-stained tea pot sitting on a tray, from which one of the uncles occasionally poured tea for his friends.  He was so strangely attracted by the tea pot that he inquired on the spot as to whether the owner was willing to sell it.

Surprise gave way to greed as the old guy contemplated making some good money out of this strange angmoh who seemed deranged enough to want to buy an old and well-used teapot, one which he can get from any crockery shop in town for a pittance.

He said he was willing to part with this 'heirloom' for $200.

The tourist haggled for a lesser amount.  They finally settled at a price of $150.  The old man said for him to come back in an hour's time so that he and his friends can finish their tea session.  The tourist said OK, paid him a deposit for the pot and went his way promising to be back later to collect his purchase.

When he came back later he was shown a sparkling clean tea pot.  The old man had given the gem a good scrubbing and polishing job and felt mighty proud of it too.  The shiny thing almost looked new.  But to his surprise and dismay, the 'angmoh' refused to accept it as the pot he had paid the deposit for.

'No, no no...' he said.  'That's not the teapot I wanted.  The one I wanted was a real antique and brown in color with tea-stains all over.  I don't want one that is cleaned and polished!  It's of no value to me.  Now give me the one I wanted or give me back my deposit!'

The old guy reluctantly returned his deposit.

Hence, I'm told, to this day those old uncle tea drinkers don't polish their teapots.  They just throw out the used tea leaves and rinse them out.

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