To Market, To Market, To Buy a Fresh Fish

The sweet, fresh taste of the sea (Photo: Restaurante Bahia)

SUNDAY mornings begin bright and early for Hui Hui’s grandmother. She leaves home at seven and troops off to the market with a long shopping list and her purse filled with six blue notes. Last Sunday, she had a little shopper tagging along, an eight-year-old chatterbox. She not only talked non-stop, she also talked quite loudly. That’s because this very morning, she felt very important as she was in charge of her grandmother’s giant shopping trolley.

Grandma’s first few stops are always the vegetable stall, the beancurd and noodle lady, the roasted pork uncle, and the grocery lady, Auntie Fei Fei. And that’s fei fei like “fat, fat,” and not “fly fly.” The last stop is Uncle Eric, the fishmonger.

Hui Hui marveled at the entire spread of fish: big ones, small ones, round ones, longish ones, some with black skin, others with silvery ones. “Which one would we get?” she wondered. That morning, Grandma was dreaming of a steamed pomfret for dinner.

“Oh, but Grandma, we just had pomfret two nights ago,” Hui Hui said.

“That’s true,” Grandma replied, nodding and pondering.

And so, Grandma fingered through the plump and bright-eyed groupers and pulled one up by the tail. It was a fine and handsome fish. So was the price. Just as Grandma was about to pull out her purse, she felt a violent tug at her shoulder, and poof, her handbag was gone!

A man in a black shirt, a black cap, and black sunglasses had taken off with her bag.

“Stop that man!” she cried. “Stop that thief!”

A bespectacled man made chase. His lithe figure and long legs made him something of a sprinter. He caught up with the man and pounced on him, pinning him down so he couldn’t move. The police came shortly after. Grandma got her handbag back, thanks to Super Long Legs, Super-Speedy Uncle.

That night, the grouper tasted better than ever.

(325 words)


Ng Sher Lyn, Primary Two
June 2017

This essay was written in response to four boxed pictures:

  • a girl is pushing a marketing trolley, talking with great excitement to her grandmother as they walk past a mobile handphone store–anyone’s best guess given the amateurish quality of the drawing 
  • the grandmother is holding a fish up by the tail; in the background, a furtive man looks on, he’s wearing a black cap, black shades, and black T-shirt
  • this same man has snatched the handbag of the grandmother; a tall bespectacled man runs after him
  • the grandmother gets her handbag back and smiles with gratitude to a policeman and the bespectacled man

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