Home is where the hearth is for Antony Smay Ubagarasamy.
The 26-year old of South Indian descent has been in Singapore for a year. Back home, friends would gather all the necessary ingredients and equipment to share a meal together. That was a special memory for Antony; it was a time of happiness.
Today, he and his fellow countrymen replicate the same, as they have left home to work in Singapore.
His makeshift family in Singapore are Venu Karthik, Thayumanavan Nagarethinam, and Matchakalai Arumugam, and his makeshift kitchen bond the men through many ways, beyond just satisfying a pang of hunger.
Being away from home and craving home-cooked favourites such as fish curry has forced the men to pick up cooking skills.
It didn’t start out easy.
Ubagarasamy sheepishly admits how terrible his first attempt was. Meal prep would inadvertently result in cuts on fingers, and without mother’s guidance, the dish wasn’t tasty.
However, with time and practice, he became better, thanks to feedback and help from his band of brothers.
Cooking can be a labour-intensive chore, but it forged a more profound friendship between them.
You could say that theirs is a bond forged by fire.
Recreating Home is the fourth episode of the Memories On A Plate social documentary series, featuring Singaporeans and their intimate stories and memories of food. The five-episode series will feature personal family histories and collective heritage from a 91 year-old Hokkien grandfather, migrant workers from South India, a Malay grandmother and her grandson, a chef with a hawker background and a newly-wedded couple.
Memories On A Plate is part of the Viddsee Voices project to develop original films that explore with local content creators issues commonly overlooked in our society.