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A Call for Radical Egg Reform

Updated: Jan 3

Yolk's on you: A Scrambled-Egg Manifesto


Written by Goh Zhen Kang, radical breakfast critic


Disclaimer: this is an opinion piece fueled by, and to be consumed with, a heavy dash of salt


Source: taste.com.au


Eggs Part 1: The Crisis

“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.” Gandalf, "The Two Towers".


The Scramble for Scrambled

Eggs. There’s just something about them that drives Raffles Hall insane. We wake up at the crack of dawn, stalking across the Comm Hall with the predatory grace of lions all while cautiously eyeing our friends as potential threats to egg security. In our determined quest, the aroma of golden, fluffy scrambled eggs draws us like moths to a flame, our senses electrified by the promise of that delectable morning delight. Yet, here in our communal sanctuary, the pursuit of this humble breakfast staple transforms into a tale of scarcity, competition, and perhaps a dash of lunacy. The Raffles Hall Egg Crisis is no ordinary affair; it's a struggle, an upheaval, and, some might argue, a farcical comedy of sorts.


Picture this: the aroma of freshly scrambled eggs wafts through the air, a fragrant promise of morning delight. Students queue eagerly, their stomachs growling but alas, a cruel twist of the knife! Eggs, like the most capricious of lovers, demonstrated their elusive nature, as fickle as the wind. They appear, on a good day, once a week, and even then, in limited quantities. The early birds, those who can make it to the Comm Hall by 6:30-7am, might be lucky enough to grab a plate. But for many, eggs are but a distant dream.


Exhibit A: Orderly chaos at 7am

Source: Kang documenting the egg queue through tears


Adding insult to injury are the egg redemption practices of some students. In their haste to secure more eggs for themselves, they often disregard the unwritten rules of fairness. It's not uncommon to see individuals redeeming multiple servings, as if their fellow hall mates don't share the same longing for this golden delight. It was only recently that the meal plan system increased the maximum number of redemptions, allowing each resident to claim up to 3 servings per meal. The Crisis was already fiercely competitive with the initial allowance of two redemptions per resident. Expanding the upper limit only ushered in an era of unparalleled chaos and disorder.


Some argue that permitting multiple redemptions serves as a safety net, a buffer against the pang of hunger. It ensures that students, despite the occasional whims of the dining hall, won't find themselves left famished. With multiple redemptions, they have the means to secure an extra serving, a precautionary measure against those days when the food supply seems anything but predictable. It's a practice rooted in the desire to safeguard against potential hunger pangs and to grant individuals a comforting reassurance that their appetite will not go unsatisfied.


The elusive nature of scrambled eggs triggers a primal instinct, awakening the competitive spirit within us. The mere possibility of securing this morning delight turns the Comm Hall into a battleground, early risers clawing their way to breakfast leaving a wake of hungry corpses in their wake.


Exhibit B: Kang fighting his way through the horde of hungry residents

Source: Walking Dead

Every serving of scrambled eggs is redeemed, leaving not even a morsel for the rats. So, while the practice of multiple redemptions may serve as a safety net, it's essential to recognize that it's not just about hunger but also a complex interplay of communal rituals, a dash of friendly rivalry, and the allure of the extraordinary egg.


A voice against injustice

In the midst of this turmoil stands a figure of change, Wei Rong. He took to social media to decry this injustice and make the community aware of the dire situation. But he didn't stop at raising awareness; he is a proponent of positive change within Raffles Hall.


Exhibit C: Wei Rong's post that made the rounds


He directs our attention to the rising cost of the meal plan subscription over the years. Intuitively, an increase in cost/taxation should equate to an increase in welfare/benefit experienced by paying residents. However, the changes following this increase (3 redemptions) only serves to decrease the amount of eggs available. The early risers already redeem the maximum amount of eggs for themselves, denying the next resident a serving of scrambled eggs. By increasing the number of redemptions, the early risers now deny 2 residents breakfast. Wei Rong argues that not only are we paying more, we are receiving less per resident!


Certainly, this argument is applicable primarily to the hotly contested items, such as waffles and scrambled eggs. In practice, the standard meals remain widely accessible to all students, leading to a genuine improvement in welfare. However, within the context of The Crisis, characterised by extreme scarcity, the status quo is turned on its head. With eggs, we find ourselves trapped in an eggshell; a prison of our own making.


Exhibit D:The average resident trying to justify why fighting for eggs is good for you


Frustration boils over as Wei Rong recounts the breakfast drama. Watching people brazenly double-scan and triple-scan for scrambled eggs, his sense of fair play took a serious hit. The possibility of someone having their breakfast snatched away by such blatant cheating gnaws at him. "Ruining someone's day over food?" he grumbles, the words heavy with accusation.


For Wei Rong, in that moment, the scrambled eggs weren't just breakfast; they became a symbol of basic human decency and consideration for fellow students, easily trampled on by those prioritising their own plates. Through Wei Rong's eyes, the scrambled egg crisis isn't just another quirky instance of Hall culture, but a stark illustration of a deeper ethical quandary, where the hunger for personal gain clashes head-on with the well-being of the community.


Aware that restricting breakfast options might dent Raffles' breakfast charm, Wei Rong proposes limiting meal redemptions on scrambled egg days. He sees it as a necessary trade-off: "sacrificing a bit of that tradition" to ensure everyone gets a fair shot at the coveted dish.

Wei Rong isn't convinced by the current meal reservation system either.


While he acknowledges its potential to reduce food waste by tailoring cooking portions, he doubts its adoption. "Reservations don't guarantee your desired dish," he points out, "and with no incentive to reserve, who'll commit early? Why sacrifice meal credit if you can just scan later?" He envisions last-minute changes and wasted reservations, casting doubt on the system's effectiveness.


Towards a fairer breakfast system

The Egg Crisis is not an insurmountable problem, but it does require collective effort and reform. It's a call for a more equitable breakfast system, where everyone has an opportunity to savour scrambled eggs without having to set their alarm clocks at ungodly hours or participate in an unwarranted egg redemption race.


In a world that should ideally embrace a shared breakfast experience, my faith remains unwavering in the possibility of a more equitable reality where eggs are accessible to all. In this envisioned world, no student should endure an early morning tutorial with an empty stomach and a void of communal warmth. Breakfast should not merely serve as a meal but as a cherished moment for smiles and camaraderie.


Yet, the current landscape often falls short of this ideal. It appears as if there's minimal space for the kind-hearted souls who yearn for a touch of comfort in their morning routine. Nonetheless, even in the face of these challenges, the hope for a world where eggs are readily available to every resident remains resolute.


However, it is imperative to recognize that residents' unrestrained behaviour has fueled the need for radical reform. The competitive spirit surrounding eggs has demonstrated that self-regulation falls short of creating a fair and considerate environment. Therefore, my proposals for radical egg reform seek to address this issue by acknowledging that, in this context, residents cannot be solely trusted to ensure equitable distribution and the preservation of the breakfast experience we all cherish.


Eggs Part 2: Radical Reform

In response to the egg crisis at our dining hall, some might say it's time for a different kind of revolution—a draconian one. Imagine an approach that mirrors the stern control of dictators. While the following proposal may seem extreme, it aims to address the egg shortage decisively. Be warned, these measures are not for the faint of heart.


Egg Rationing

To curb the egg frenzy and ensure equitable distribution, the most stringent measure would be to introduce a weekly egg ration. Students would be assigned a specific day of the week when they can partake in the egg feast. Those who miss their designated day will have to wait until the following week. This may seem harsh, but it eliminates the daily scramble and guarantees that every student gets their fair share.


Exhibit E: WW2 Ration propaganda

Source: AARP


Breakfast Surveillance State

Enforcing strict breakfast hours would be essential to monitor the egg distribution. Students must present themselves at the Comm Hall within their assigned time slots. Any deviation from the schedule would result in forfeiture of their weekly egg allowance. Surveillance cameras could be installed to ensure compliance (although I do concede the costly nature of maintaining surveillance cameras).


Instead, I propose that we tap in on our extensive human resources, leveraging on freshmen eager for points to stay next year. Raffles could mobilise a corps of Breakfast Monitors, a corps of appointed student representatives that patrol the Comm Hall on egg days to ensure compliance with egg distribution regulations.


Exhibit F: Imposing freshie ready to throw you into a gulag

Source: Reddit, where I definitely don't spend most of my time


They could be rewarded with aux points for exemplary service and given special Hall powers allowing them to punish rule-breakers. Perhaps they could be free to issue demerit points or order community service!


Some may express concerns about empowering overzealous freshmen, fearing that such empowerment could lead to potential abuses of power. It's important to consider these reservations and strike a balance between allowing students more control over breakfast items and preventing any undue disruptions in the dining hall's operations. Transparency, accountability, and guidance are key to ensuring that any delegated authority is used responsibly and in the best interest of the entire Raffles Hall community.


Nuclear Winter

The "nuclear option" to resolve the egg crisis is a bold but radical approach: no more eggs. While it might sound like a drastic solution, it could effectively eliminate the chaos and competition that currently surrounds the egg service. We tear into each other with glee, hounds baying for breakfast blood. It is clear that residents cannot be trusted to self-regulate egg distribution.


Exhibit G: Egg Neanderthals watching the world burn

Source: Risibank


This farcical comedy has become so deeply internalised that we can no longer conceptualise any alternative. How can we call ourselves a community if we propagate the very thing that divides us? As The Crisis has persisted for years, even worsening in recent months, nothing short of a complete reset can possibly save our souls.


I will be the first to admit that I’ve derived a demented joy from depriving others of breakfast. I don’t even really like scrambled eggs! They’re wet, gooey and the texture reminds me of milk curds. An omelette would make more sense, it has consistency and structural integrity unlike scrambled eggs. The issue is that there isn’t really any better alternative in Hall, scrambled eggs are a welcome change of pace from the daily supply of fried noodles.


In reality, I enjoy scrambled eggs because I’m actively denying the next 3-serving-redeeming Neanderthal behind me the chance to deprive another poor soul of breakfast. By maintaining a single serving for myself, I maintain justice in my own limited way. I suspect the enjoyment of scrambled eggs here exists on the same axis for my fellow residents.


This is precisely why I advocate for the nuclear option. Eggs, once a symbol of morning camaraderie, have lost their meaning and transformed into a weekly conflict point. The academic bell curve already subjects us to its cruelties; why should we willingly add more competition to our daily lives? The harsh realities of life in Singapore are challenging enough without introducing unnecessary rivalry over breakfast. A radically exploitative system calls for equally radical reform to ensure a fair and harmonious dining experience for all.


Exhibit H: The changing face of conflict

Source: Kang's Meme Bank


Eggs Part 3: Finally, The Recipe


Let's get cracking

My scrambled egg quest ended in a whimper, not a bang. One morning, defeated by the breakfast stampede, I slunk back to my room. But despair was a luxury I couldn't afford (my wallet wouldn't allow it, anyway). So, I rummaged through the pantry, my culinary El Dorado, and unearthed a forgotten hero: half a box of ribbon pasta.


Cracking eggs with the finesse of a toddler wielding a hammer, I whisked them into a pale yellow froth. The pasta, liberated from its cardboard prison, met its bubbly fate in a pan sizzling with butter (okay, fine, margarine… judge not a starving student). It was a chaotic dance of starch and yolk, a culinary waltz gone slightly tango in my clumsy hands.


The omelette, when (eventually) coaxed into a plate, bore a questionable resemblance to its intended form. It was more like a misshapen pasta UFO, craters of uncooked dough punctuating its golden surface.


Exhibit I: Gordon Ramsay looking on with disappointment while I redefine culinary arts

Source: Ok I admit it's Reddit


The acrid sting of defeat still lingered in the air, clinging to the memories of yolk-drenched battlefields. But defeat rarely tasted good, and instead of wallowing, a spark ignited within me. From the depths of my pantry, I salvaged a forgotten knight in shining noodles. This wasn't a breakfast surrender, it was a culinary revolution. Armed with borrowed whisks and stolen spices, I became an alchemist of the kitchen, each sizzling trial a whispered secret in the language of omelettes. My strange concoction, once a desperate measure, was slowly morphing into a masterpiece, a testament to the resilience of a hungry soul.


...And so, the humble pasta omelette transcended its humble origins. It became a symbol of triumph, a furious fist to the tyranny of bland breakfast. Now, I urge you, my fellow breakfast comrades, to join me in this revolution!


We, the rebels of the Raffles kitchen, refuse to be pawns in a culinary game rigged against us. We demand our right to scrambled egg self-determination! Let a thousand spatulas bloom, let the symphony of sizzling onions drown out the clanging of empty trays! We shall reclaim our mornings, one scrambled masterpieces at a time.


This is not a call for mere reform, but for a complete breakfast overthrow. Down with the reign of divisive scrambled eggs! Up with the dawn of personalised egg artistry, of kitchens pulsating with the joy of culinary self-expression!


Exhibit J: My army of egg rebels watching the egg overseers approach our firing line


Recipe

Ingredients

  • 60ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

  • 2 zucchinis, halved widthwise, thinly sliced

  • 1 eggplant, halved widthwise, thinly sliced

  • 300g ribbon pasta

  • 5 eggs

  • 40g (1/2 cup) finely grated parmesan

  • 100g (2/3 cup) semi-dried tomatoes

  • 60g olives, halved, pitted


Step 1

To make garlic oil, combine 2 tablespoons of oil and garlic in a small bowl, then season with salt and pepper.


Step 2

Preheat a chargrill pan over medium heat. Working in 3 batches, lightly brush zucchinis and eggplant with garlic oil, then cook for 1 minute each side or until tender and lightly charred.


Step 3

Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 6 minutes or until slightly firmer than al dente. Drain.


Step 4

Meanwhile, whisk eggs and parmesan together, then season. Add hot pasta to the egg mixture and toss well to combine. Add three-quarters each of the chargrilled vegetables, tomatoes and olives, and toss to combine.


Step 5

Preheat a grill to medium–high. Meanwhile, heat a 26cm heavy-based frying pan over high heat, then add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Pour the omelette mixture into the pan. Working quickly, tuck remaining vegetables, tomatoes and olives into the top of the omelette. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes or until base and side are golden and omelette is half-cooked.


Step 6

Transfer pan to grill and cook for a further 5 minutes or until top is golden and omelette is just set. Serve immediately or at room temperature.



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