My guess is no. In fact, I don’t think HAIR and TEMPOYAK should even come together in a sentence!
I, however, a few days ago, have had the privillege of having a pungent smelling fermented durian paste catapulted out from a glass bottle straight onto my freshly washed, bouncy curls. The said tempoyak hit one Datin, a few Bruneians, one Filipino, one Thai-American, a white ceiling and a 6-feet portrait of the Queen.
A series of unfortunate events preceeded the stench that was “The Tempoyak Incident“.
As you’ve all was probably informed (or not), over the last week, I was busy with the proceedings of the AUN Educational Forum and Young Speakers Contest. What basically happens is 17 AUN (short for ASEAN University Network) member universities from nine ASEAN countries – namely, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Brunei come together to share ideas, network and erm, other stuff. Myanmar was absent, for obvious reasons. The theme was as appropo, “How ASEAN can move forward as a single community”. Extremely relevant, especially ASEAN plan to do so by 2020.
Anyway, I apparently volunteered to help out sometime back, and in a whoosh, I was called in a meeting, and was immediately informed of my duties as a rapporteur. In hindsight, I think it was all great fun, with a concrete outcome (which was the joint-statement we came up with in the end) and a head fuller with knowledge.
So, back to the Incident of the Tempoyak, during one of the lunches, the Secretariat decided to dazzle the foreign delegates with our national dish, the ambuyat, or specifically the skill and elbow grease needed to produce ambuyat semangkuk agung. We had the works laid out on the table, various kinds of cacah (dip), ambulong (sago flour, derived from the Rumbia plant), pais daging (smoked buffalo meat), and rojak (chopped veggies in peanut sauce) enough to last us a year!
One of our Thai delegates, J, joined us at the ambuyat table and attacked our tempoyak dip with fervor, so much that Datin decided to award him with a bottle of the dip to bring back to Thailand with him. So she took one bottle which was unopened, and in three catastrophic movements, shook the bottle, causing the bottle’s cap to propel itself off into the air, and the strong-smelling tempoyak blasted itself out into the air, hitting many innocent victims along the way.
WE ALL RUSHED TO THE NEAREST TOILET. Worst thing was that it was a MALE toilet! Hahahahahah. Needless to say, the epicentre of the cataclysm was Datin, who actually got it in her eyes, and Azam, who got it all over his jacket. The rest of us got spatter patterns of tempoyak of various sizes, while the carpet and ceiling suffered the most damage. The smell will not be going away from the VVIP lounge anytime soon. Nope, definitely not in the near future.
All photos in this post creditted to: Tajul Al Barakat