I’m sure you know what saga seeds are — those scarlet, glossy and heart-shaped beads. Saga seeds symbolise love in many of these countries and are known as xiang si dou (相思豆) in Mandarin. That literally means ‘longing peas’. They are unique to certain parts of Southeast Asia, Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean Islands. Of course, Singapore is home to some of these trees!
Saga is actually the Malay name for it and this has been traced to the Arabic for ‘goldsmith’. What has the goldsmith got to do with the tree? Interestingly, in the olden days, the seeds were commonly used to measure the weight of gold and silver. 4 seeds = 1g. And you know the seeds don’t lie because they have a uniform weight. Cool, huh?
If the saga tree were a human, it would be heavily fined as it is deciduous and so, sheds a lot of twigs, leaves and especially its pods, which often crack open while still on the branches. Thus, many seeds drop before the pods themselves fall.
The seeds may be eaten if and only if they are cooked. Otherwise, try it at your own risk. Many have used them to treat headaches and inflammation but how effective it is, we don’t know.
Accessory shops in Singapore and other parts of the globe have fused these vibrant seeds into their jewellery to form unique, attractive pieces. Online, people are also selling the seeds in packs. But where’s the joy if you didn’t actually gather them yourself?
Read about this interesting project, Pass It On, done by a British contemporary artist who, for this, collected more than 10,000 saga seeds and hand-numbered them one by one.
Would you like to pick some seeds today?
Well, if you have the heart, you will definitely be able to get them! Go with your friends, go with your family, go yourself — whatever. Follow the steps below and the seeds will find their way into your pockets!
1) Recognise how a saga tree looks like
2) Understand where the trees are
3) Ready your materials
Plastic bags, insect repellent and, uhm, yourself (see, it’s not much!)
4) Look out for the trees and search the ground!
Chant in your head, “Where are ‘em seeds, where are ‘em seeds?” — focus is key!
5) Take, take, take!
Be careful they don’t spill out! Although these are Mother Nature’s gifts to you, as well-mannered children…
6) … we say ‘thanks’!
Place some into a mini glass bottle, insert a short note and cap with a cork. Gift that precious creation to that person who means something to you.
She can place it by her bed, or hang it on her bag. Whatever it is, she will be reminded of your love for her.
Alternatively, you could fashion a beautiful masterpiece out of those seeds!
P.S. Guys, if you truly want toimpress a girl, do it. Well worth the effort, you’ll say! My pleasure.