1. I don’t cook at home – as Lisa will not have it 🙂

      But I do everything else to keep her happy and keep out of her way 🙂


    1. That’s right, Jadi,

      Do something tangible and not simply fall into the once a year events driven by retailers’ hype.


    1. Hello Ankur,

      Considering the image I uploaded and my replies to readers’ comments, one can conclude it is addressed to men. And I say this because most men (but not all, I concede) have yet to step up.

      But I appreciate and welcome the gist behind your comment. Yes, feel free to expand and employ the theme of “breaking out of gender stereotypes” to keep one’s partner surprised and happy.

      All good wishes, my friend

      Break free of one’s chain
      Cooking, washing, cleaning chores
      Share the work, spread joy

      Just as I knew nothing of cooking, in the early years of our marriage my wife, Lisa, did not know much about changing light bulbs and maintaining our cars. With my heavy business travel schedule, it fell on her to handle these routines. Of course the motor mechanics in Singapore, especially in the 1980s through 1990s, were quick to fleece people. And the maintenance cost of our cars kept creeping higher.

      As an engineer, I was quite annoyed with the mechanics, and therefore I taught my wife about cars and repairs, and a few other tricks. The only way to put these red-necks in place was to show them that my wife knew as much if not more about fuel injectors, drive belts, and wheel alignments, and so forth.

      For the last 25 years, Lisa has been handling all the servicing and repairs of our cars. And the mechanics know better than to mess with her. She also learned to change light bulbs, handle simple plumbing repairs, and a few other things. She is especially great in fixing computers and electronic gadgets.

      I did not learn to cook until about six months ago. But I can hold my own when it comes to house cleaning, laundry, and marketing, and taking care of babies (changing diapers, feeding, and losing the children – when they were a little older – in a crowd, etc. I have yet to lose a grandchild in a fair or a shopping mall :-)).

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  1. Oh, so is that why he’s sticking around after 29 years? The good meals? 🙂

    Love the haiku, Eric, and I couldn’t help but laugh when I read Ian’s reply, too. My husband’s more of a flowers and chocolate kind of guy for surprises, and I’m grateful to say that he’s always been a romantic, even after all these years.

    Welcome back, also! It’s good to see you blogging again!
    Have a good rest of the week!

    1. LOL! Good comeback, Lauren.

      Thank you, dear friend, some snippets do offer up spontaneous chuckles.

      Your hubby sounds like the quintessential romantic. But then again, that’s somewhat of a given when the object of his desires is not only pretty but also beautiful. 🙂 Happy for both of you.

      It’s good to be back blogging too.

      All good wishes,

      Little gifts of love
      Pretty flowers, chocolates
      Private moments shared

      She opened the front door to her husband. He stood shivering in his glistening sticky raincoat. She grabbed and pulled him inside and hugged him tight.

      ‘I was so worried,’ she said. ‘The storm, it was all over the news.’

      He winced.

      ‘Are you hurt?’ she said, leaning back a little and inspecting him.

      He parted his heavy raincoat and pulled out the bouquet of flowers and smiled.

      ‘I was afraid they might get crushed,’ he said, and handed the delicate red roses, her favourite flowers, to her.

      She took the flowers in both hands and looked up, her eyes having turned wet.

      ‘And your favourite chocolates,’ he said, and produced a gift wrapped package.

      He crunched a broad tight smile, the crow’s feet around his eyes making him handsomer than when he was a mere twenty something.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

      1. Happy to bring a smile, Eric. 🙂 And thanks so much for your lovely words, too. And what a beautiful story. Wow! I think you should compile these for a book. Seriously! Wishing you a great Friday! Hugs!

  2. This Haiku spun off some delightful stories relating to expressions of love through cooking. The whole dialogue reminded me of Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” in which he expounds on how to save a marriage with the words “love her/him”. He goes on to explain that little loving gestures spin off reciprocal gestures.

    In our family we all cook; and in my brother’s he and his wife and son take it in turns. In their case I sometimes think that they attempt to outdo each other – certainly they turn out miraculous dishes from a tiny gallery kitchen.

    Thank you for opening up this exchange of ideas.

    1. Hello Jane dear,

      I’ve not read Covey’s book but reckon he must have got it right. Little loving gestures add up for a home filled with love, as do little irritations set the stage for an avoidable conflagration.

      Reading your story, you know what, I’m surrounded by people in whose families men cook. I must be a dinosaur—but at least, I’ve finally learned to cook. 🙂 Trying to outdo one another in rustling up great dishes—that’s sounds like so much fun. (It is certainly more rewarding and inclusive than “macho men” sitting around trying to outdo one another on how many beers they can down.)

      You’re very welcome, Jane, and thank you for sharing your story too.

      All good wishes,

      A smile douses flames
      Be ready for home fires
      Smother with your love

      When the men said they will handle the weekend house cleaning, laundry, and all other domestic chores, Jill, the mother, and her daughters, Jean and Joan, looked with suspicion.

      ‘Trust us,’ chorused Tom, the father, and his sons, Tim and Tom Junior.

      ‘What about the ball game?’ Jill asked.

      ‘It’s only a game,’ said Tom.

      ‘We’ll record the game and watch it later,’ said Tim.

      ‘Go one,’ said Tim Junior, ‘have a great girls’ day out. Take your time. Just be home for dinner.’

      ‘You are going to cook dinner too?’ said Jean.

      As the girls bundled into the car, Jill said, ‘Do you think they are up to no good?’

      ‘Nah!’ said Joan. ‘What can they do, burn down the house?’

      Mother and daughters looked at one another.

      ‘We’re insured,’ said Jill, and all three chuckled as they drove off.

      When the women returned, the house was clean, the laundry ironed and stored away, and the dinner table ready with a sumptuous meal, bouquet of flowers, and wine.

      The women were impressed and the men looked extremely pleased with themselves.

      What the women did not know was, the weekend before Tom and the boys had bet on and won big in a ball game. They had used the money to pay for the house cleaning and laundry service, and meals from a gourmet restaurant.

      That afternoon, the men had watched the live telecast of the ball game and their team won again.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  3. Sumptuous repast
    Prepared for my Beloved
    Recipe for Love.

    Dear Eric,

    Yes! So simple to create sustenance from whatever is found in the pantry. I cook all the meals, for my boys and for Julie and me, so there is nothing foreign in that regard.

    Plucked early spring flowers add ambiance to the dinner table, a simple gesture that resonates without words from your Beloved. It is readily acknowledged.

    Good to read your words, my friend. Always a pleasure stopping by and perusing your creations of wisdom.

    Warmest wishes your way,
    Paul 🙂

    1. Dear Paul,

      I love your haiku – apt and filled with love. Now, nothing can taste better than a meal cooked with love, I reckon. And I can visualize the table setting – marvelous.

      Good to have you pop over too, and you always leave behind well thought out comments that must have taken a fair bit of investment in your time. You honour me.

      All good wishes,
      Eric 🙂
      P/s: I’m enjoying your walk in the forest path series.

      Meals by loving hands
      Hunter, gatherer, and cook
      Bonding over meals

      When he was a young man, Sigayan was a strong hunter. Not once did the sun set without a generous cut of fresh meat—his share of the spoils—presented to his woman, Alli.

      When the children started arriving, Sigayan cleared a plot of land, planted seeds, and nurtured a farm. Farming was not only less dangerous—there was always the risk of venomous snakes in the fields—but it also meant he remained close to the village and helped Alli with the children.

      The children grew up and helped with the farm and the family flourished.

      But with age and waning health, even farming was beyond Sigayan. With Alli gently guiding him, he learned to cook. This relieved his daughters, especially, from some of their daily chores and also set a good example for his sons.

      The villagers were unimpressed. His friends said, ‘The kitchen is not for a man, a former hunter no less.’

      He did not care what they said. He knew best his place in his home.

      ‘It will be anywhere in the house where I can help my loved ones.’

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  4. This is a risky gesture. Do it well and you may end up as the chef. Cook up a poor meal, you will be reminded of it for a long long time. But love is about taking risk and giving surprises.

    1. Hello Windy,

      You do come up with some refreshing thoughts don’t you. LOL.

      You’re right. Do something well and it becomes your job; do something poorly and you’ll not hear the last of it.

      Better to stick to takeaways, you reckon? LOL.


      Damned if you do well
      Damned if you do not do well
      Chinese takeaway?

      When it came to buying chicken in the wet market, I was the expert—I knew which end of the bird to check—Heh! Heh! Heh!—and what to look for.

      As you might know, in the old days in Singapore, we bought live chicken—selected them—and the hawker would slit the throat, drain the blood, and de-feather the limp bird by sticking it in a tin of boiling water; the entire operation took but minutes. The hawker would also pack the feet, the head, and the innards and return the lot to us. These were all delicacies.

      In the mid-1980s with the advent of cold storages and supermarkets, I found myself out of a job. The chicken came de-feathered and neatly shrink wrapped in polystyrene trays. And with the head and feet removed! Now how boring is that?

      Now, we have to pay for a bag of chicken feet. Or pay even more in a tim sum restaurant. Sigh!

      Haiku: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

    1. Hello Ina,

      You’re very right – I too will never turn down a home-cooked meal.


      Loving hands prepare
      Meals cooked with love taste the best
      Waistline casts shadow

      Love it when Lisa cooks—and she spoils me with all my favourite dishes. Especially during weekends, we finish off our meals with a nice bottle of wine—or two. And it is my job to clean out the second bottle. Heh! Heh! Heh!

      Of course there are other aspects in home dining that brings and keeps us close.

      She is miles ahead in the cooking department but I play a part too. Besides marketing, cutting, slicing and dicing, I also help with the before/after washing, drying, and storing away of cutlery and crockery.

      But no matter how much a man helps in the house, it is a fact that much of the domestic burden falls on the wife. This was especially so years ago when we did not have a live-in help and the children started arriving.

      Haiku: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  5. I can remember deciding one day to surprise my wife by washing the curtains which were greatly in need of a bath. They ended up as mini skirts which has me banned from the washing machine while she is alive. rotfl. I do a lot better cooking though and that seems to cancel out the memory of those curtains. Probably romancing her with flowers and an occasional dinner out is even better?

    1. Good one, Ian.

      That gave me a chuckle too.

      Romancing with flowers and dinner is always a winner, I agree.

      And your observation is right. Daily living offers plenty of opportunities to show more than tell how much we care and love our spouse/partner. And in this regards, washing curtains, cooking, and many similar initiatives figure right up there.

      As for mini-skirting the linen – ROTFL.

      Show, don’t merely tell
      Sharing chores without been asked
      Kindles love daily

      Newly married, we agreed to work hard to discard bad habits.

      One of Lisa’s pet peeves was, I used to leave the washbasin wet. She preferred everything to be dry and told me so. After that first request, the truth is, except for one or two days since, throughout our 37 years together, I’ve always dried up after myself.

      Of course, over the years I acquired new habits to irritate her. And she would point these out and I’ll readily oblige. No big deal really, and now I’ve run out irritating habits—I think.

      She too had to give up her little annoying habits and guess what—life together has been a joy for us. It’s easy really to build a loving and caring home.

      If you love the person, make the effort to show it, I say. Stop been a slob.

      Haiku: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

    1. Hello Bill,

      It’s great to return to regular blogging.

      First thing in the morning and your comment gave me a good laugh. I’m working on a heavy manuscript and need all the cheer I can get. Thank you, buddy 🙂

      Well, at least you have hamburgers and hotdogs to help hold onto your wife. I was out on thin ice—see my story below.


      Cement the wedding
      Give a book of recipes
      Food, gateway to love

      First Sunday following our marriage, Lisa and I trotted down to the wet market to pick up provisions to cook lunch. I was expert in selecting chicken; vegetables; the works. Lisa was impressed.

      I skinned, deboned, and cut up the chicken meat. Sliced and diced the vegetables. Laid out the ingredients and condiments. Lisa was impressed.

      Job done, I returned to my reclining chair and flicked open the newspapers—to make sure the politicians had not messed up the world.

      ‘When do you plan to start cooking lunch?’ asked Lisa. In her family, her father and brothers cooked.

      ‘I thought you were cooking,’ I said. In my family, my mother and sisters did the cooking.

      ‘I can’t cook,’ she said.

      ‘I did the marketing; knew which end of the chicken to check; and did all the cutting,’ I replied. Since age ten, I had helped my mother with the marketing and cutting. But there was a small panic rising in my throat. Lisa was not impressed.

      I called my mother and she had a good laugh. She said, ‘Bring the chicken over.’

      My mother kept laughing till the line cut. Lisa and I had a good chuckle too.

      After that day, to her great credit, Lisa learned to cook Indian dishes, Chinese food, and Malayan fare too. Even my mother praised Lisa’s cooking.

      I learned to cook last year—37 years later. You can read about my ground-breaking skills here > Move aside Gordon Ramsay.

      Lisa is impressed.

      Haiku: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

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