Everyone, including the Chinese, eat with their hands

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During the launch of his book Capturing Hope: The Struggle Continues for A New Malaysia last Sunday, Dr Mahathir said: “The Chinese eat with chopsticks, they don’t eat with their hands.”

It appeared that the good doctor was not very astute. If gangrene were to set in at the fingers only, would a surgeon amputate the hand?

Anyone using a pair of chopsticks, knife and fork, or a spoon to eat will have to use the hand unless the person is without and has learned to use a leg and toes.

Just as everyone uses their fingers to eat durian, knife and fork are used to enjoy a piece of steak in a restaurant, not bitten off like a slice of bread during breakfast at home.

Just like noodle soups, many Chinese foods are served piping hot, and diners may have to pick up the food with chopsticks, give it a blow, before putting it into the mouth.

I like to consume my food and drinks as hot as possible and would not touch them after they have cooled down, more so if they were prepared hours ago.

My favourite nasi lemak and nasi kandar are at shops where rice is served piping hot, and together with sambal or gravy, a spoonful would taste heavenly.

Chopsticks are used less often by local Chinese compared to other East Asians such as Japanese, Koreans, and Vietnamese.

Apart from freshly cooked noodles and in formal Chinese dinners, spoon and fork are used most of the time, whether in eateries or at home.

In any case, everyone eats with their hands, and fingers are used to hold chopsticks, fork, knife, spoon, or scoop up food into the mouth.

Anyone who claims others do not eat with their hands may have looked but did not see. Likewise, a clouded judgment would use a fallacy to prove a point.

The views expressed here are strictly those of The True Net reader YS Chan from Petaling Jaya.