you learn something new every day

A skeumorph is an object or feature which imitates the design of a similar artefact made from another material. Here’s a nice article on some examples.

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current mood

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.

Malvolio reading a letter in Twelfth Night by Shakespeare

‘mental block’ against singapore food impossible to overcome

Snippet of a really interesting interview Bharati Jagdish conducted with chef Violet Oon in last year:

Jagdish: But in Singapore, how can this mental block about Singapore food be removed?

Oon: I think the only way it can move forward, honestly, is acknowledging that people are quite happy to pay for it in hotels. I go to Straits Kitchen, I’m quite happy to pay S$65 for this buffet.

Jagdish: Yes, but that’s so unfair to the poor guy who is cooking it in a hawker center in Bedok.

Oon: Yes, but there’s no other way. There’s such a mental block, I don’t think we can overcome it. You see, we brought these top restaurants around the world to Singapore and young people here start restaurants and they have what they call omakase menus. And they’re not even famous but it’s S$120 per person for a six-course meal and people are very happily paying it. The food cost is minimal, but you’re not paying for the food, but for the environment and you’re paying for the talent. You’re paying for that person’s talent in doing it.

My point is that if people are not happily paying more for hawker food, the hawker culture is definitely going to die, unless others like me take it and put it in their restaurants. At least I can charge more for it than the hawker can.

a rock pile

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

Antoine de Saint Exupery, Flight to Arras

we have a culinary prejudice

Snippet of an interview Bharati Jagdish conducted with author and food blogger Leslie Tay in 2015:

Bharati: Ultimately though, those of us who can afford it just need to learn to pay more for food, don’t we? How do you think people can learn to accept this?

Tay: First of all, we have to realise that we have a culinary prejudice against our food. Why are you so happy paying S$15 for a bowl of ramen, and you complain when the bowl of bak chor mee goes up by another S$0.50 to S$4.50? [Emphasis mine.] The other day, I wrote about the bak chor mee that’s being sold by a Japanese man. And everybody was so wowed – “Japanese man!”

Bharati: His daughter makes it?

Tay: Yeah, his daughter. They were selling it for S$5, and people are paying for it, but we have this funny prejudice against our own food. When it comes to chicken rice, it has to be S$3, S$3.50. It’s not like in Japan, you have sushi off the belt for S$2. You can have sushi at the top end sushi restaurant for S$40 a piece, right? And a meal can cost S$300, or it can cost S$3.

gentrification?

One can’t help but agree with what hotelier Loh Lik Peng said in an interview with Bharati Jagdish:

Loh: The reality is that the vast majority of Singaporeans are not willing to pay more than S$2-S$3 for their mee pok, not willing to pay more than S$1.20 for their kopi-o. So these people are being pushed out. People will happily pay S$4 for their cappuccino. So the guys setting up their cappuccino stores are going to make much more money than the guys who do the traditional kopitiams.

Bharati: You’re saying this is consumers’ fault?

Loh: Absolutely! Absolutely. It’s the fault of Singaporeans. When people complain that the traditional trade is being pushed out, they must realise it’s also because they are not willing to pay the right price for these traditional goods. [Emphasis mine – recall my post on mooncakes.] They want to pay the price their parents paid, or the prices they paid in their childhood. Those prices are not relevant in today’s Singapore, so these businesses get pushed out to their margins, or get pushed to the government-subsidised hawker centres, because people are not realistic about the prices people should really charge to make a decent living in modern Singapore. That’s the reality.

overpriced mooncakes

Mooncakes are not overpriced, since so many people are queuing up willingly for them. Anyway, if shops can’t make money from mooncakes, soon nobody will want to make them at all. So just think of it as playing your part to preserve 5000 years of culture. Haha!

letting it go

Had this quote on my mind this whole morning:

By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning.

Laozi, Dao De Jing (translated by Raymond B Blakney)

MZ asked me if I knew the original text, so I googled, and found out it was Chapter 48:

第四十八章

为学日益,为道日损,损之又损,以至于无为。无为而无不为,取天下常以无事;及其有事,不足以取天下。

(The second sentence is the source material of ‘By letting it go…’.)

So I did more googling and found a whole bunch of Dao De Jing translations here, and the rest of Blakney’s translations here!

And his translation for Chapter 48:

The student learns by daily increment.
The Way is gained by daily loss,
Loss upon loss until
At last comes rest.

By letting go, it all gets done;
The world is won by those who let it go!
But when you try and try,
The world is then beyond the winning.

mid-autumn

The moon is beautiful tonight.

resurrection

Finally got round to sorting out two thick files’ worth of GP stuff as part of Operation Clean Room. Found this piece of foolscap with the following quote written on it. Can’t remember why I even copied it down – perhaps I found it evocative enough……

It has been three months since an underwater convulsion off the coast of Sumatra spawned a series of huge waves that washed up on the shores of the Indian Ocean. On official counts, nearly 300,000 people died in the tragedy or are still missing. For the survivors, the pain will never disappear. Now, however, after what surely must be the greatest outpouring of compassion the world has ever seen, a semblance of normality is setting in. Schools, food stalls – and yes, auto-parts shops – are reopening; mosques, temples and churches are welcoming the faithful to prayer; and children are again playing in streets that not long ago were grimly silent.

from ‘Resurrection’ by Simon Elegant, Time, 4 April 2005

hitting the gym

Joined a gym near my house recently. There were a few reasons. One was because I had been learning yoga from the same instructor for the past four years and felt a little stagnant. It was also quite troublesome to carry my yoga mat to and from my lessons at the community centre. Additionally, there was a pool at the gym and I am hoping to start swimming again. Lastly, the gym has a variety of exercise classes daily and I was interested in trying something new.

So yesterday evening after work, I went for my very first lesson at the gym – PILATES! Didn’t research it beforehand so I had no idea what to expect. At the start of the class, the instructor asked who was new and I was the only one to raise my hand! :P Anyway we did stretches, stretches and more stretches. Some positions were very similar or even identical to those in yoga, but that’s not surprising cos the number of poses the human body can do is rather finite.

thirtieth

Yesterday I was 29 and today I begin my 31st revolution around the sun.

Goodness I am old!!! :O

counting down the days

Ten more days!!! :O

millennium falcon

A producer called me and she said, “Hi Calista, I have some bad news. Harrison has been hurt, he had an accident. He was standing on a Millennium Falcon and the door fell. […] And I called a friend of mine and I said, “What the hell is the Millennium Falcon? I have never heard of that airline!”

Calista Flockhart, on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show

counting down the months

One more month!!! :D


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