Ice Kosong

If you want to save money on drinks while cutting down on sugary sodas, just order an Ice Kosong which costs just 30 cents at any hawker centre. Basically this is boiled water that has been cooled down and ice has been added to it. It tastes the same as bottled water which would cost four times the price at S$1.20. Kosong (pronounced Co-so-ng not Co-saw-ng like the spelling suggests) means empty or nothing and is a Malay word that has been adopted into what we call Singlish (our informal, street language).

Don’t know if it’s just my imagination, but since New Water (the company Hyflux that was the first and only local company doing water purification at the time, has struck gold with this) has been introduced into our water system I find that our tap water tastes funny and unless it’s boiled I don’t want to drink it. I must be sounding like such a princess right now.

It’s been reported that only 2.5% is added into the water collected at the reservoirs. I suspect you won’t see this on any travel guide to Singapore, but it’s basically a political and I guess practical decision to reduce our dependence on our neighbour, Malaysia who has been selling us water all these years.

There was an insider joke that New Water is 99% water and 1% pee (or worse). I know it’s crude and possibly ignorant, but this is a joke that went around in emails and such, when the whole concept was first introduced to very unhappy Singaporeans, myself included about a decade ago.

I remember drinking water straight from the tap in the 70’s and 80’s and the water tasted so good. In fact, even better than mineral water. The Millenium kids will never know how deliciously sweet, tap water used to be.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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5 Responses to Ice Kosong

  1. I do find the water tasting different these weeks, and I thought I was being too sensitive. I still drink straight from the tap though. But what’s making me concern is, my skin is getting dryer. This I am sure, has something to do with the water. Until I figure that out, I am drinking more of my own water! 😀

    • bookjunkie says:

      My aunties claim that the water can make you hair fall out due to all the chemical processing. It’s interesting to find out what everyone really thinks about the tap water.

  2. kirsten says:

    I used to get ice kachang kosong and it would cost 50 cents. Or if I was being a particularly cute child (or if the vendor loves kids) I’d get it for free. I only ever eat ice kachang kosong ‘cos I don’t like the sweet corn an beans and all that, but I think nowadays a lot of places would still charge full price. *sad*

    • bookjunkie says:

      I never knew there was ice kachang kosong. I don’t like the corn and beans either, so that’s what I should order next time. I do like the red jelly pieces though and loads of the rose and gula melaka syrup. As a child I only like to eat around the pink and brown portions and would avoid the green bit

      Even with jelly beans I pick out the red, orange and yellow and leave the purple and green behind.

  3. Pingback: Top 30 Chinese words you must know if you go to Singapore!

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