When Less Becomes More


As these days we can’t travel on a whim, the things I bought on my trips to Nepal and Kinmen Island in the past have taken on a relic-like significance.

War Hero edition of Kinmen Sorghum Liquor.

In 2019, I visited Kinmen Island, the birthplace of my ancestors for the first time. Kinmen sorghum liquor is well known among wine aficionados. Revenue from its sale world wide plays a huge part in education funding for the island’s children from nursery to university.

The little island between mainland China and Taiwan even has its own ceramic factory dedicated to the creation of sorghum wine receptacles to mark historical and social events.

When I bought these two bottles of sorghum wine during my trips in 2019, I had no idea a pandemic was also brewing.

I got them mainly because the wine came from grains that were grown, harvested and fermented on an island that my grandmother was born, left and pined for all her life. And of course the little glasses that the islanders took their celebrated elixir in had to come home with me!

I love drinking with little glasses and cups. Firstly, they are very very cute. Secondly, they pace my alcohol intake so I can relax without becoming intoxicated. The thimble sized holders of Kinmen Sorghum encourages me to sip and savour, instead of gulp and guzzle.

When I take a sip of this “rocket fuel,” as the liquor is fondly known for its high alcohol content, the sweetness of fermented sorghum caresses my tongue and perfumes my mouth, while heat sashays up my nose, dances my brows and warms my ears.

I don’t know when we’ll be able to visit my grandmother’s beloved birthplace again. So for now I shall drink the precious remaining liquor mindfully, and make every sip count.

A lunch of Vietnamese spring rolls, papaya salad and noodles is augmented by Kinmen liquor.

And through mindful consumption and usage of resources like in the days of our forefathers, may we turn the little that we’ve got to lots, so that we may win the war against the pandemic.

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