Chip is a friend. Chip is a what we would normally describe in colloquial Malaysian parlance, a “kiam siap Chinaman”. The term carries with it an equal amount of affection (as it is generally not considered as a racial epithet) and derision (as it describes a Scrooge-like behavior). But Chip wears the label proudly.
The extent that Chip would go through hoops to piece best deals from scouring through direct mailer coupons is legendary. With Soduku-level concentration, Chip would pour through all of the mails and then announce to us proudly via our WhatsApp chat group where the best deals are available every week.
Visiting Chip’s office is like visiting a warehouse filled with cartons of tetrapacked traditional herbal Chinese cooling tea, unopened cartons of duty-not-paid cigarettes (Chip doesn’t smoke) and boxes of instant noodles which were a fad when it first came out.
While some may have mistaken the trait as hoarding, Chip prefers to see himself as a collector of deals. It is the very idea of scoring great savings that drives and motivates him. In the Poker game of life, he always doubles down when he is dealt good cards by Adam Smith’s invisible hand.
Just some months back, Chip contacted me over one great money saving discovery that he had come across. During his routine Saturday morning coffee and kaya toast ritual in a neighourbood family run coffee shop that he had frequented over the better part of two decades, he overheard a group of aunties discussing their recent purchase of Cambodian chicks–
“Baby chicks?” I interrupted him, as he was telling me the tale, giving him an incredulous look of disbelief and utter confusion.
He continued by telling me that these chicks would grow up to become Cambodian variant of the Red Jungle Fowl which are generally regarded to the most productive egg laying chickens this side of the world. He then went into a very detail comparison of the different species of fowl known to man and their egg production ratio to kilograms of grain fed.
While impressed with his analysis, I’ve decided that while I really like to save whichever way possible, scrounging on a few dollars for eggs by turning my house to a chicken farm is just going a little too far. Chip, not discouraged by my final decision went ahead and procured half a dozen chicks.
I shall be checking in with him soon to see how his egg farming hobby goes.