Bubble tea — Kryptonite in a cup

SEPTEMBER 25 — The long lines at bubble tea shops seem ludicrous to people who don’t have a sweet tooth.

If you like dessert, however, and you don’t mind it in liquid form, bubble tea is the equivalent of sugary crack cocaine.

“I didn’t use to like bubble tea until I met you,” someone told me the other day.

“You just never had really good ones,” I said.

It used to be fun; an experiment in sugary thirst quenching, an attempt to satiate my curiosity.

Four kilos later I now have a moratorium on bubble tea until my birthday next year — that’s how dangerous I find the beverage.

How quickly we fall

The thing about bubble tea is that it is literally a heavy meal in a cup.

For instance, brown sugar-laden ones are the current craze and sugar, whether brown, red or white, is the key to the doorway of diabetes.

There’s the milk, often creamy and fresh, the carb-heavy tapioca pearls and now some drinks even offer brûlée toppings. It doesn’t help I love a good Crème brûlée.

It’s like sipping two slices of cake in one go and the sugary hit keeps you coming back, especially when you find a particular chain you love.

My favourite so fair is Bangkok’s Fire Tiger which serves a signature concoction topped by a crispy layer of Crème brûlée.

Then there’s Black Whale’s own signature drink which also offers brûlée as well as delectable, soft pearls.

The only other chain with silky, not-too-chewy, not-too-brittle pearls, I know is Tiger Sugar.

It took just a few months for my waistline to expand. In July I weighed 62kg. Just two weeks ago, I weighed 66kg.

I dropped two kilos since then, after I dropped bubble tea from my personal menu.

Dropping sugary drinks doesn’t seem much of a sacrifice, of course. The best bubble teas cost upwards of RM13 and are more occasional indulgences than a regular habit.

What I think Malaysians find it harder to drop are our pre-conceptions about politics and our politicians.

The one thing that hasn’t changed since before the last election is our penchant for putting our leaders on pedestals.

Witness the current lavish honouring of certain personalities with various awards.

I think the participation trophies need to end. As far as the report cards for our politicians go, many of them would earn angry nagging from Asian parents.

We need to get over our need to fawn over and elevate elected representatives — they don’t need to be honoured just for winning an election.

We need to learn to reward them for getting things done. We need them to work to earn our trust and we need to get used to expecting more of them, and seeing them as people we elected, not people we obey.

The feudalistic mindset is a simple, comforting one and for some of us, it’s been ingrained and familiar.

Sometimes we need to recognise unhealthy things for what they are — whether it’s a sugar-laden drink or outdated political concepts. Here’s to less bubble tea and more outspokenness in our citizenry.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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