The duck thing

March 15, 2017



"The Egg Principle" I wrote earlier is one simple life lesson from home that touched me, and one which I try to remind myself as often as I can about the philosophy behind it. Doing the basic thing and not many things is perfectly ok – as long as that basic thing is done properly and exceptionally well. It is better to master what one does even just ordinarily as opposed to trying so many extraordinary things that would likely fail.

Deeply in me I must admit that this simple-sounded philosophy cannot be that simple. How boring is that to keep doing one same thing over and over after the period of time. Isn’t life all about experiencing?


I have many interests and always find myself with many things I like to pursue – often at the same time – and feared that I would not live long enough to do all that I’d like to do in my life time. Being a struggling optimist as I am, I keep on telling myself that this is not unusual, and I quite like to think that it is as a result of one’s creativity, enthusiasms and positive outlook in life, generally.


When I was spending much time being around my beloved grandmother, and as a child, often I couldn’t focus for so long at a time on one thing; would lose interest in certain thing easily and tend to quickly move on to do other more exciting things.


The granny didn’t seem to be a big fan over this tendency. In fact I learnt later on that she actually was a little against it. She would keep on insisting that we children must learn to finish what we do one thing at a time; it is okay to do various things but one must not give up on one thing too easily. The fundamental basics in life with regard to perseverance, resilience and patience would have all been preached during occasions like these. I guess this is one of the typical basics of an old Buddhist family.


However, as much as her rather remarkable personality went - wicked yet witty-, my grandmother would amusingly call this the 'duck thing'. She called those acts of knowing so many but not excellent at any as the 'duck way of life'.   'A cute one!', she added.


The duck, a creature which posses some skills of all chicken sorts – swimming, diving, running, flying, hunting, defending or even aggressing – but would never be claimed as a master in any of such skills. Ducks would never go so far nor being well on their own.


And despite having an equally adorably comical face as any birds, where did that expression of such 'an ugly duckling' come from? (yes, we have the same expression of 'ugly duckling' in Thai too).


Besides, even when eaten as food, duck is sadly less popular than chicken. What is it there for a duck life to be remembered after death? (though I now might add that orange sauce is even better remembered after being paired with duck!). Is it poultry, or is it a game, is it wild, is it a delicacy or is it a red meat? What is it about this creature?


I was reminded at my meal last night about this wonderful meat that pleased me every time I had. The Egg Principle reminded me to compare the what ifs, or the opposites of such belief. It’s what I call now the Duck Principle here. Although I try to uphold and live up to the philosophy of the Egg Principle, the "Duck thing" seems to be what I naturally tend to do more often than the "Egg thing". I think I had actually (Duckily) practiced without even realising it.


There’s always a different way to believe and look up in life – and that’s it neither right or wrong. It’s a choice – as we say.

Short, transient life, as for all of us human beings, but ducks seem to be happy. Ducks seem always content even with all that average skills by other standards. It does not mean they don’t practice their skill but it is as far as their nature goes.


Ducks don’t seem to be bothered by all that accusations for being mediocre. Ducks are actually living a day full of fun and experiences – life is short so make it full, ducks speak.


Ducks, not surviving well alone? – maybe the truth is that they just don’t want to be alone but this is truly a reflection of all that ultimate duck loving and sociable society. An ‘ugly duckling’ expression might have even been invented by themselves as a reflection of their unique ability to make fun of themselves – a needed sense of humour for us all. Ducks would survive in all elements and every situation. And even as a food (they themselves call this ‘a meaning full life after death’!), duck meat is more versatile than we all know.


Duck is delicious - my favourite. Chicken is comfort food but at times it sounds just less than exciting for both eating and cooking with.

So the Duck sums up and answers to my earlier debate on this contradiction on life philosophy.  Egg Principle or Duck Principle?  I shall give the Duck a try – and hopefully as life goes on, one day, through experiences and times, failures and odd success, fun and happiness is seemingly there to be had. Maybe even an ugly duck can master some small thing following the extraordinary standard by Egg Principle too.

But what is it about the duck meat, anyway?  Is it poultry or red meat?



Duck - spring roll
Duck with pasta and garlic & chive sauce
Duck – baked
Duck – soup in soya herb
Duck salad – warm
Duck – red curry of roast duck, lychee

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