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Keith Tse


  • Writer's pictureKeith Tse


It is common practice to pierce the lid on microwave products which I consume on a very regular basis for sloth and lack of cooking skills. It is almost common-sensical and I have never paid much attention to it, given my general urge to cook and consume as quickly as possible. I recently gave some thought to it and realised something rather important. The rationale behind not removing the lid is presumably to keep the food content sealed within the container so that it does not spatter all around the chamber of the microwave (something which happened to me a few times in my early days as a university student due to total and complete inexperience), yet keeping the product completely sealed would accumulate too much air and water pressure as the microwave heats up the food inside, to the extent that the sealed food might explode and cause an even bigger spattering. Either scenario is disastrous and non-desirable, and to find a balance between both extremes it is advised by food producers to keep the lid on but pierce holes on it so that excess steam can escape the container, which is considered the safest way to microwave food. We have all heard of such common maxims as ‘finding the Middle Way’ which is so prevalent in both Western and Oriental religion and philosophy, and the art of microwaving illustrates this rather well, since the idea is to avoid extremes that can come about if one either opens up the product entirely or keeps it completely sealed. This is a wonderful lifehack to bear in mind, and it is especially relevant to the current political crises all over the world where mass protests have broken out and people are starting to demonstrate in public confronting government officials who have had to employ the police and the military to suppress such mass movements. There have been casualties on both sides, which is painful to watch, and neither side is completely (un)justified in doing what they do, since it is the right of every citizen to voice his/her opinion in public and it is the duty of every law-enforcer to preserve public and civic order. Things get nasty when protestors begin to cause mayhem and commit vandalism to public property or when police officers resort to force and violence to quell such mass protests, which has led to such polarised attitudes towards the police who have been defended by some and criticised by others in this issue of police brutality. It is probably well-advised to find an optimal balance between the will of the people and the duty of the state so that the people can still express themselves openly, especially their dissatisfaction at contemporary events, and the law-enforcers can do their job in keeping the society in order lest it descends into anarchy and chaos. It sounds simple but it is of course much easier said than done, since this is a fine balance to strike between two opposing camps in our modern society. Let’s just hope that people realise the importance of finding the Middle Way and remember to keep the lid on while microwaving so that the food content can breathe once in a while and let off some steam.

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