#20: Raja Bersiong: Reloaded

Long before the fall of Berlin Wall,[1] there lived a king who became famous for his penchant for fine dining with a slight twist.

One Sunday morning, the king got up from his bed after a delicious lie-in while listening to Red Dragon FM,[2] and ordered the kitchen staff to prepare a gorgeous serving of ratatouille for brunch.

In his haste to prepare the King’s dish, the chef, whom we shall call Steve Bruce, accidentally cut his finger, causing blood to drip into the food. Pressed for time and unable to prepare another dish, Steve Bruce quickly plated the ratatouille in the most appetizing way he could and watched in trepidation as the King savoured the dish.

“Marvellous! This ratatouille is absolutely sensational!” remarked the elated king. “I want exactly the same dish tomorrow,” he told the Steve Bruce.

The next day, Steve Bruce duly prepared the meal, but when the king took a mouthful, he frowned and summoned Steve Bruce immediately.

“What is this? I wanted the same dish as yesterday. How come it is not as tasty?” There’s in consistency in its taste, you are not elevating the meal sufficiently, and it’s lacking a certain je ne sais quoi. Compared to yesterday’s splendid fare, today’s dish is just vile!” the king ranted.

The cook stammered and promptly rushed out of his kitchen another dish of the same ingredients, prepared to perfection.

Or so he thought.

The King took a spoonful, and swiftly spat it out. “I want the same dish as yesterday! Not similar, not comparable and certainly not almost-identical. I want exactly the same dish!” he roared.

Thoroughly scared and soiling his pants slightly, Steve Bruce – who was rumoured to have cut his teeth in the culinary world as a Sous Chef at London’s Gymkhana[3] before being appointed Executive Chef at the castle – broke down and confessed that the other day he had cut his hand and a drop of blood was mixed with the food.

Expecting the worst of fate to befall him, the cook was surprised when the King ordered that from that day forth blood be added to his meal each time food was prepared. He also decreed that human blood – and he wasn’t too fussed if it was Group A, B, AB or O – was to be made available from his subjects.

So the king indulged in his gastronomic delights for months on end, with blood extracted from his people and added to his favourite dishes.

Conveniently enough for the purpose of this story, the king soon sprouted fangs, and became known as Raja Bersiong.[4] He continued with his addiction, and after a while, his behavior was becoming a bit dodgy. The whole became compulsive and – if reports on CNN are to be believed – was beginning to interfere with his health.

Prisoners were executed for blood, which was initially thought to be a neat solution to the prison overcrowding issue. However, this was criticised as being inhumane and drew a lot of flak from international NGOs.

Obviously the ordinary people were also expected to do their bit, and they were becoming increasingly testy as no men, women and children were spared. Some of them started to flee country, gave up their citizenship and sought asylum in the USA – and these people didn’t even write naughty blogs!

Soon, conscription or drafting system was installed, and compulsory enlistment of people for blood donation was gazette as national service. Except there was no war to fight.

His subjects were at first fearful and endured this dreadful ordeal. However, as more and more people lose their blood without being compensated properly, they started plotting to turn against the king in defiance.

In the middle of this troublesome period, Steve Bruce – the chef, in case you have forgotten about him – was feeling a bit guilty as he watched the atrocities unfold. He knew that he must do something quick before more people ended up being tortured for blood or worse, die.

He came up with a cunning plan to spike the king’s next meal and procured some particularly potent poison at the market. One day, when the king and his advisors were out for a charity golf event, Steve Bruce cooked the king’s favourite Kolhapuri Chicken Curry and the equally formidable Murgh Makhanwala, and put in some poison in the dishes.

When the King arrived back at the castle – elated after having improved his handicap – he immediately asked for lunch to be served.

To make the story more interesting, a bumbling waiting staff carrying the dishes tripped over the king’s favourite cat, a shortsighted Australian Mist fondly known as ‘Ronaldo’. He fell over and spilled the dishes already fortified with a cocktail of exotic pesticides. The murder attempt was thwarted by the incompetence of the chef’s own staff.

Unfortunately, Ronaldo ate the spilled curry dishes and instantly gave up the ghost, as if he was hit by the Avada Kedavra spell by Lord Voldemort.

The king immediately figured out that the food was poisoned and the chef was trying to kill him. The king ordered the chef to be executed at once, and naturally, his blood was used as a key ingredient in the next toasted fermented corn brioche with burnt leeks and slow-poached duck egg prepared by the kitchen.

The people were not amused and finally had enough of the king’s antics. They decided to never again live in fear and stood up against the king.

Inspired by the Arab Spring, the people demanded their very own version of glasnost and Perestroika, which they felt would liberate the scared and scarred people. Led by a former union activist, the mob staged a coup, armed with nothing more than chopsticks and some foreign coins. Evidently, this was enough to worry the king. Fearing for his life, he fled the country, moved to France and changed his name to Louis de Pointe du Lac.

No one really knew what happened to him after that, until he made a high profile cameo appearance in the mid 90s, in an American romantic horror film, ‘Interview with a Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles’, using a new pseudonym, Brad Pitt.

After a string of moderate success in the local theatre productions, he was rumoured to have been contracted to make a guest appearance in one of the Harry Potter movies. He eventually declined, after fracturing his ribs in a rugby match, and was apparently replaced by his cousin, Professor Snape.

The (abrupt) End.

[1] In fact, this was long before there ever was a Berlin Wall.
[2] Former incarnation of South Wales’ No. 1 Hit Music Station, Capital FM, which broadcasts to Cardiff, Newport and the surrounding areas from studios in Cardiff Bay.
[3] Try the Fried South Indian chicken wings and the tandoori-seared guinea fowl breast for a bedazzling gastronomic experience. Don’t expect your usual nasi daun pisang fare.
[4] Literally, ‘Fanged Monarch’.

#20: Raja Bersiong: Reloaded

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