Last night, the National Museum of Singapore invited me to share tea history trivia as part of their Lighter Side of History Public Lecture Series. Initially, the organisers told me it would be an “intimate gathering of around 100 people”, but apparently, there was such an overwhelming response that the talk had to be shifted to the theatre which could seat around 250 people, AND there was a waiting list. Given that I’m nowhere near being famous nor do I have an impressive job title like “Chief Archaeologist”, it can only mean one thing:
THERE ARE MANY, MANY TEA LOVERS IN SINGAPORE! YAY!
During the Q&A session, there were people who shared their own tea trivia too and I liked how there was that sort-of dialogue happening. For example, there were two accounts of how tea got to be called ‘tea’. Version #1:It is derived from the Hokkien word for tea – ‘teh'(and likely so since Fujian province is a tea-producing region). Version #2: While being shipped to Europe, tea cargo was marked with an ‘X’ as the angmohs had no idea what to call it. People started reading the ‘X’ as a “t’and that evolved to ‘tea’. Cool, huh? I also was impressed with an industrious group of Japanese ladies who painstakingly took photos of every slide.
And what’s a tea lecture without some real tea? Very grateful that a tea business friend sponsored and served Ceremonie – this really lovely Israeli gourmet tea brand (LOVE their packaging) which hasn’t been launched officially in Singapore yet (soon, soon!). Some ladies looked very, very stoked about the tea they could sample and bring home. It’s a good feeling knowing that this little event managed to tea-light a few folks.