The New Paper
28 December 2015
A bad break-up sent local entertainer Abigail Chay reaching for her favourite comfort food - fried chicken backsides. It had an unexpected benefit apart from soothing her heart: Great skin.
Chay, 56, found out that the often-discarded chicken part was a traditional remedy to give you good skin. She became so taken with folkloric wisdom that she and her friends started a project to compile the wise sayings of the elderly.
Over the course of a year, she and fellow compiler, emcee Roger Poon, interviewed 500 people on their natural solutions to common problems. They even got SG50 funding for the book.
Chay told The New Paper: "A lot of the things that I know have been passed down to me by my elders. This book will make sure these remedies are shared with everyone to ensure that the wise words of our ancestors would not be lost."
The comedienne, who is well known to have had a sex change, spoke about the break-up.
She said: "My then-boyfriend and I were talking about marriage when his parents raised objections. They could not accept a daughter-in-law who had undergone a sex change. My boyfriend could not defy his parents and I did not want him to either. He broke up with me and I was shattered."
She added: "My parents also made it clear to me that if I ever dated a man whose parents objected to me, I had to bow out of the relationship. I bear no resentment towards anyone as I can understand how they feel, once I put myself in their shoes."
Chay, who met her then-boyfriend through mutual friends in 2001, said she was devastated at being alone again.
"I lost quite a bit of weight and since I was skinny to begin with, I looked very haggard and bad.
"I have always loved to eat chicken backside since I was young, so I turned to it as my comfort food. I ate around 12 chicken backsides per time a few times a week.
"It really surprised me when I started to look better. Looking better gave me more confidence and I started to feel better about myself."
According to a 2012 study by the Nutrition And Dietary Studies Of America, the chicken's posterior is a nutritional powerhouse.
Compared with chicken breast, which provides 8 per cent iron and 2 per cent calcium, a chicken's backside contains nearly 11 per cent iron and 8 per cent calcium.
Chay, who is single, said: "Chicken backsides may not be for everyone as they are high in fat content. But this food really helped me during that terrible time. I hope that all the natural remedies found in the book will help people in some way or another."
Singapore Remedies will be sold at the atrium at Chinatown Point from Jan 14 to Feb 7.
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