The news recently had me walking down White Rabbit- and Haw Flakes-lined memory lane. These--along with Kendi Mint, Fat and Thin watermelon seeds and plastic balloon--were my sari-sari store staples. Semi-forbidden stuff that I hoarded on the sly. I especially loved the filmy, plastic-like coating of White Rabbit and the way it melted in the mouth.
Now, with melamine casting dark clouds over just about anything and everything China-made, I feel a certain sense of loss. Goodbye, White Rabbit and Haw Flakes. No more making the side trip to the "Chinese" corner of the grocery for kiamoy and dikiam. I look at the colorful array of preserves and my inner monitor says "don't even think about it." I crave for tocinong Intsik, and an internal alarm buzzes.
Sad, but my nephews can't expect their usual from-the-Philippines hoard of Peanut Nougat and Peanut Cake anymore. "Pretend" Communion won't be the same without Haw Flakes. And White Rabbit? I now wonder what chemicals go into the melts-in-the-mouth coating. (The fine print doesn't help any. I once looked up the ingredients for Haw Flakes and guess what I found? Haw and water! As if I know what haw is :p)
There are other oriental brands that I am oh so familiar with; ointments and liniments often encountered in terminals and in airports and in piers. White Flower, Tiger Balm, Katinko and Essential Embrocation may be melamine-free, but their point of origin now makes them suspect.
Really, this melamine thing is giving most of us a bad case of paranoia.