Thanks to viral post, more people going to ITE foodcourt
The Internet is not all bad.
Two weeks ago, someone named Wendy Choo posted an appeal on Facebook group Hawkers United - Dabao 2020.
It read: "For ppl who are staying/ working near CCK ITE West College...
"U can visit the canteen located in the school.
"Business has been badly affected as students are mainly having HBL (home-based learning).
"They serve a variety of food. Stall owners are barely making to cover the rental...
"Do help to support them if you are around that area."
The post went viral, having been shared more than 4,000 times and reported by AsiaOne, Mothership.sg, Mustsharenews.com and SethLui.com.
I first saw the post on the Friends Of Yew Tee Facebook group.
I am in the Friends of Yew Tee Facebook group because, well, I live in Yew Tee, which is near enough to the ITE College West campus - and so I felt I should help out by grabbing a meal there even though it was a bit out of the way.
If you don't drive, you can get there by taking the train to Teck Whye LRT station. That is two MRT and three LRT stations from my place.
I decided to make the trip last Friday afternoon with my wife.
At the ITE campus SafeEntry check-in point, I asked the security guard where the canteen was. He told me to turn right and there it was.
At the canteen entrance, a big sign said: "Food court open to public."
The problem is that the location of the sign is such that not many members of the public can actually see it.
The foodcourt was brightly lit and spacious with tables arranged far apart due to Covid-19 safety measures.
There weren't many people eating there but then it was almost 2pm, a little after lunchtime. I saw a few students in uniform and diners who didn't look like students.
Of the 18 food stalls, only 10 were open. The vegetarian food stall seemed open but the guy behind it gave me the international hand gesture for "no more food".
I was intrigued by a stall called Australian Delights, but it looked like it had closed down for good. Did it sell BBQ kangaroo fillet or something?
So I ordered a $2 roti john from the Malay Cuisine stall, but when I found out it contained sardines, my wife didn't allow me to eat it because of my gout. She ate it instead.
In the end, I had the spaghetti alfredo with grilled fish (not sardine) from the pasta stall. It was only $4, but I added two cheese balls for another $1.50 because, you know, I wanted to support the place.
I regretted the balls. It was all a bit too rich for my blood. I was feeling kind of bloated afterwards.
Including a $1.20 iced Milo and a $1 iced tea-O (no straws) for my wife and me, I spent less than $10 on lunch for the both of us.
I felt like a hero, having done my good deed for the day. Then I went home and found out that some local YouTuber named Zermatt Neo had posted a video about spending over $50 buying items from every stall in the ITE College West foodcourt, including the roti john, pasta, fried rice, chicken rice, hot plate, fishball noodles and waffles.
The waffle stall was closed when I was there, damn it.
Anyway, this is not a competition. It is not about who spent more money in the foodcourt and is therefore the bigger hero.
It is about supporting the stall owners.
The woman who sold me the roti john told me that thanks to the viral post, more people were eating at the foodcourt.
She said that previously, members of the public were "scared" to go there because they didn't know the foodcourt was open to the public.
Well, I certainly wouldn't have gone there if not for the viral post. And that over-eating YouTuber too.
So the Internet is not just for spreading misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines and alleged sex videos of Night Owl Cinematics co-founder Sylvia Chan. It can do some good too.
Unlike those cheese balls.