LIFE BY LOUIS: Of treasured water glasses that represent royalty

Tuesday August 06 2019

I took Brian’s younger brother to see a doctor the other day after he displayed symptoms of stomach discomfort.

After a series of intense interrogations and laboratory tests, the doctor concluded that the young boy could have picked up some bacteria from his feeding bottle.

Because he is a good old man, he took me through a thirty-minute lesson on how to feed him using a water glass.

I watched in awe as he fed the child from the glass, swirling it without pouring a single drop of milk. For a moment, I thought he must have been a celebrated mixologist of adult beverages in his younger life.
Still, I had my reservations drawn from my turbulent relationship with water glasses growing up.

I don’t have any history of an intimate affair with water glasses. Except, I would only look at the neatly tucked away glasses from a far, in fear of Wa Hellen, who would punish the entire household in the event that one of her treasured items got broken.



Water glasses were sacred. They represented royalty. You never touched one even if you were responsible for clearing the table after the visitors had left.

You never opened that sideboard unless the president was visiting. Even then, you required express permission from Wa Hellen with no option of delegated powers.

Out of the six water glasses that were in the sideboard when I was born many years ago, five are still intact.

The missing one broke when my sister accidentally knocked it against the steel tap while rinsing it. She returned it to its original place, and it was not until many months later when her mischief was discovered.

No one confessed on who was responsible for the damage even after severe whipping from Wa Hellen.

Afterwards, my uncle used cello tape and rubber bands to extend its lifetime. It was then taken to the bathroom and used to place tooth brushes.


I still give that sideboard a wide berth whenever I visit Wa Hellen, even in my old age. I’m sure she will demand a written statement, and in duplicate for filing purposes, explaining my intentions of touching the visitors’ glasses.

And her approval will be accompanied by a consent form and a disclaimer that if I break one of the glasses, I should replace with a dozen of the same type and make.

Wa Hellen’s lessons on the sanctity of glasses have not gone to waste. I have adopted the same strategy in my leafy suburb home.

Nearly all liquids here are taken from the free plastic cups that come with tea flasks.

The glasses are kept on the top most shelf of a lockable cabinet, and the key is kept together with my title deeds and college certificate.

Now you see why I am a bit sceptical of the doctor’s recommendation. Glasses are only for important visitors and should never be exposed to secondary uses such as feeding toddlers!

Therefore, the young boy will keep using his feeding bottle before graduating into the plastic cups. That’s final.