Learning > Inspiration

87-year-old still serving up good food, enjoying chats

Jeanell Kiew on 01 Sep 2019

The Straits Times


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She may be 87 years old, but her taste buds are sharper than ever, serving as quality control at one of Singapore's pioneer nasi padang stalls.


For the past 51 years, Madam Rosmah Nidar has been dishing up traditional Indonesian food at Che' Rose Nasi Padang.


While the rendang and sambal goreng are cooked by her son and daughter, Madam Rosmah supervises the all-important balance of spices.


But checking that the fare continues to meet her high standards is not the only reason she still works.


"If I stay inside the house the whole day, it means there is no one to talk to," Madam Rosmah says in Malay.


"Coming to the coffee shop lets me interact with many people and go about doing things."


Madam Rosmah is one of a growing number of seniors who are living longer, some of who keep working regularly well past their sixties in order to stay active and engaged.


Though she is unable to stand for long periods of time, Madam Rosmah helps out at the Lorong 1, Toa Payoh stall from 7am to 3pm every day except Friday, when the stall is closed.


The stall is mainly run by her daughter Norsiah Kadola, 60, and son Rashid Kadola, 58.


Madam Rosmah is a matriarch to nine children, 27 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.


She now lives with her youngest son in Bishan.


However, her advanced age is not without issues, says Mr Rashid.


Madam Rosmah has to take medication daily to manage her cholesterol levels and mild diabetes.


In 2000, she suffered a heart attack while in Melaka and later underwent bypass surgery.


"Before the surgery, my mother would become easily out of breath whenever she climbed stairs. But she is much better now," says Ms Norsiah.


Madam Rosmah is now more conscious of her diet, but has a weakness for durians.


She cannot resist durian with pulut (glutinous rice), eating up to three pieces of durian at one time, says Ms Norsiah.


Such temptations are proof to Madam Rosmah's children that they need to help their mother monitor and control her diet. The only sweetened drink that they won't stop her from having in a day is a cup of Milo in the morning.


Noting that her mother shows no sign of dementia, Ms Norsiah says proudly: "She can remember how to cook the dishes from memory, and knows the proportion of ingredients to use.


"Sometimes I can't even produce the same taste she does."


Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.



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