I was texting a friend this morning who’s currently on a business trip in Melbourne. As it’s his first time down under, he asked for some recommendations of Australian snack products to bring home as souvenirs.
It reminded me of when my dad used to go to Australia for business trips back in the days. My siblings and I would always ask for two things – Tim Tam biscuits and Maltesers party buckets. These delicious treats are sold for a lot cheaper in Australia compared to at home so he would always return with a bag of these goodies. Yum!
In Australia, the Tim Tam biscuits retail at about AUD1.8 (~ RM5.8) a packet and can even be bought wholesale whilst at home, a regular packet of these biscuits cost RM12.9. Several supermarkets here do sell a cheaper alternative of Tim Tams manufactured in Indonesia and they retail at about a third (If I recall correctly) of the price. So far I’ve only seen them in the “Original” flavor.
Thinking of Tim Tams reminded me of Ramadan several years ago. Mum and I were in line at TMC to pay for the groceries we bought to cook for iftar. An old man with a RM20 note was ahead of us. We watched as the cashier scanned his groceries which consisted of mostly vegetables and two packets of Tim Tam biscuits. I could tell they were the Australian ones because they were flavored.
After scanning all his items, the cashier flashed the final amount due and, expectedly, it went above RM20. The man looked confused and briefly looked through his items to identify the culprit before finally asking the cashier for the breakdown. When she revealed that the Tim Tams were RM13 each (instead of RM5? he had expected), the man looked taken aback and then requested the cashier remove the biscuits from his bag. We watched as he paid and left with his bag of veggies.
I looked at mum, as if already anticipating what she would do next. Immediately, she told the cashier to add the Tim Tams to our basket and once they had been scanned to our bill, she rushed out the store and called for the man. At first he looked stunned when mum handed him the packet of Tim Tams and refused to accept the gift. But soon enough, that look quickly changed to gratitude as he continued to thank her and expressed how moved he was by her gesture.
Back in the car, mum asked if I wanted to know why she did what she did.
“Because he reminds me so much of your late uncle,” she said, tears welled up in her eyes. “Sometimes we take a packet of chocolate biscuits for granted, while to others it may be a luxury. Even though some people work hard, they cannot always afford to spend it on just a packet of chocolate biscuits.”
That instance did not only prove how kind-hearted and empathetic my mum was (probably the most kind-hearted and empathetic person I’ve ever known), but it also taught me an important lesson especially in Ramadan, a month of gratitude and giving.
“Always be grateful, count my blessings, and show kindness to everyone.”
And until today, as I write this blog about probably 7 years later, I still smile thinking of how it couldn’t have been more perfect that I was taught such a beautiful lesson by my beloved mother in the most blessed month of the Islamic calendar.
Images from Google.