Why Are So Many Chinese Singaporeans Still So Terrible At Using Chopsticks?

So are we left without an answer to this great mystery? Will the decline of Orthodox chopstick techniques be a footnote in culinary history? 

Fear not, I have an improbable theory—by way of anecdote.

In 2017, I was accused of being a Chinese Imperialist in Hong Kong. It happened over supper, in a Prince Edward Cha Chaan Teng. My friends and I were having supper when we noticed ‘A’ struggling laboriously with his Beef Hor Fun. Instead of pinching and lifting the thick slices of noodles, he was using his chopsticks as a bulldozer. Gripping them in the flat of his palm as one might grasp an erect penis, he shovelled food along the edge of his plate and into a spoon, before lifting said spoon to his mouth.

The whole process was slow, and agonizing to watch, not least because everyone else had long since finished eating. After 10 minutes of watching a grown man fail at Hor Fun, someone in our party snapped—not me, I swear—and said: “Oi, wah lao, why you use chopstick liddat?”

“Huh. Eh. What. What do you mean?” ‘A’ croaked, sounding terribly defensive.

Too late. Damage done. Paradise Lost. A heated debate erupted over the existence of ‘correct’ chopstick technique. When I tried to suggest the Orthodox method—my method—was better, more efficient, I was labelled a Communist Party Spy. 

Stop spreading your Mainland China Communist Confucian Supremacy Theories, they screeched, much to my annoyance. 

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