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Khok: Slow and sour

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I appreciate a failing internet connection.

Yes, you lose your lifeline to the world of information, entertainment and communication. While you’re waiting, you count how many times the randy lizards on the ceiling tap their tails to attract a mate (maybe—I can’t verify this; my wifi is in hibernation).

That’s when you have an epiphany. Failures have a purpose: It is a time to examine where you failed and why. Or how a slow internet connection can enrich your life. Failures can turn a man into a philosopher or a better cook.

Aug. 15 (based on my old notes on real paper) is US National Failures Day. It is the odd man on a stage that lauds success. Where success is sweet, failure is bitter. But it can be funny, too.

When my niece, Ellen, was still at university, she and two of her friends rented a tiny house near the campus, and shared responsibilities.

It was Ellen’s turn to fix lunch. She made inun-unan (fish cooked in vinegar) for the first time. She placed a kilo of fish in a pot, added seasonings, and poured a full bottle of vinegar into the pot. You know the end of the story, right? It was too sour to eat, so she decided to fry the fish to great success.

Ellen recovered from her failure, and asked people to teach her how to cook. Today, she is an ace inun-unan maker, though we sometimes reserve some of the fish to fry for another meal in honor of failure saved from damnation. You should try fried inun-unan.

A weak internet, on the other fin, can be a time to go back to the old way of writing (longhand) and doing research using reference books. When the Net zooms again, simply make an electronic copy.

Many facts don’t become obsolete. It takes time to make natural vinegar. It’s slow. But in the end, triumph.


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