Published Sunday, 9 April, 2017
culture , gastronomy , sociopolitics
Identity is a funny thing, which is why this article struck a chord in me…… And it also made me crave muah chee, which I haven’t had for eons.
A flavour of Singapore identity is lost without muah chee
By Han Fook Kwang
The simple snack may not make big bucks but its value is built on factors like craftsmanship and tradition
Muah Chee is an unlikely subject when talking about the Singapore identity. But there is a connection which I will come to later.
It is a simple snack made of glutinous rice covered with ground peanut which doesn’t stir up the same passionate debate among local foodies as char kway teow or chilli crab.
Continue reading ‘a flavour of Singapore identity is lost without muah chee’
Published Monday, 5 December, 2016
c'est la vie , culture , quoteworthy
As a person who likes to pick perfect presents, this article struck a chord with me……
How much for the festive spirit?
By Akshita Nanda
Let’s be honest: We’re all judging one another by how much we give and what we receive
‘Tis the season to be judged on your giving. Colour drains from wallet and brain in the face of yet another annual round of Secret Santa parties and gift exchanges with loved ones.
Walk into a mall and be further pierced by the eyes of fund-raisers in reindeer antlers. Their gazes narrow on my shopping bags, their teeth set in fixed grins. My steps falter.
Continue reading ‘how much for the festive spirit?’
Published Tuesday, 7 June, 2016
amusings , anthropology , art , culture , linguistics
There’s apparently a whole school of superstitions surrounding the Shakespearean play Macbeth!
Published Tuesday, 5 April, 2016
culture , quoteworthy , sociopolitics
I thought this letter was a pretty interesting perspective on the ‘over-regulation’ of void deck usage.
Losing kampung culture is part of progress
The functions of our void decks are evolving, but this is not necessarily a bad thing (“Voiding the kampung spirit?“; March 17).
These changes occur due to the country’s progress, which alters people’s demand of their living environment.
Fifty years ago, the kampung lifestyle was an essential part of the then Third World Singapore. Fast forward 50 years, and our country has evolved to become a world economic hub.
Continue reading ‘losing kampung culture is part of progress’
Published Wednesday, 30 March, 2016
culture , gastronomy , linguistics
Recently found out what wassail (mmm sounds delicious) and wassailing are.
Published Sunday, 27 March, 2016
amusings , culture , quoteworthy
Was looking through my Secondary 4 elective geography stuff when I found this rather entertaining newspaper article on recycling in Japan……
Separating your combustibles from your recyclables
By Kavitha Rao
Taking the garbage out is never much fun, but in Japan it is sheer agony. When I first arrived in Japan, I “oohed” and “aahed” over the exquisite groceries, especially the beautiful packaging, delicate ribbons, and the myriad gift-wrappings. That didn’t last long. Now, when I buy a charming box of rice crackers, I just worry about how much garbage I am going to have to dispose of.
The first thing every resident in Japan learns is how to sort garbage, or gomi, as it is called in Japanese. The second is how not to. How complicated could this be, you think? Very.
Continue reading ‘separating your combustibles from your recyclables’
Published Wednesday, 23 March, 2016
culture , gastronomy , quoteworthy
When I was in secondary school and junior college, we were made to read Newsweek as part of some reading programme. Somehow, out of the thousands of articles that my brain processed, this is the only one that stands out in my mind after all these years. (Naturally I quickly located a copy online and reproduce it for posterity below.) Probably because I’m quite a fan of mayo (especially Japanese) myself!
Don’t Hold The Mayo!
Kouji Nakamura mixes a cocktail in his shaker, squeezes a bit of mayonnaise into it, gives it a good shake and voila! “This is mayogarita,” he declares, putting down a glass of milky white stuff that smells like vinegar. Next he concocts a “mayoty dog,” which is like a salty dog–vodka and grapefruit juice–with the rim of the glass coated in mayo instead of salt. If that makes you flinch, wait until dinner arrives: a pot of mayonnaise fondue, followed by a plate of chopped celery and octopus swimming in tomato and mayonnaise sauce. At the next table, a young couple slices a big, mayo-filled pizza. It’s a typical Saturday night at Mayonnaise Kitchen, Japan’s first mayo-themed restaurant. When Nakamura, 31, opened the eatery in a Tokyo suburb two summers ago, he recalls, “some said, ‘Who would come to a place that just serves mayonnaise?’ ” Plenty of people, as it turned out; Nakamura opened his second Tokyo restaurant last April.
Continue reading ‘don’t hold the mayo!’
Published Tuesday, 22 March, 2016
culture , gastronomy
When it comes to prata, one egg and one kosong (plain) are usually just nice for me. And somehow they taste best with fish curry. Its sourness cuts through all those carbs and prevents one from feeling too jelak (satiated). Prata and curry…… possibly one of the best breakfasts you can get in this sunny little island!
Published Thursday, 10 March, 2016
culture , linguistics
The Pennsylvania Dutch, a group of early emigres to America, were not from the Netherlands, but Germany. (Their language shares the same name.)
Published Sunday, 24 January, 2016
culture , linguistics
Bombonieres is a high-sounding, bombastic word for ‘party favours’!
Published Saturday, 2 January, 2016
culture , linguistics , science
Read this interesting article and discovered the word plastrons, or the underside of turtle or tortoise shells!
Published Thursday, 31 December, 2015
culture , history , quoteworthy
This article really made me want to take a similar trip back to China…… perhaps next year?
My surreal connection to my ancestral home
By Lisabel Ting
It is a human desire to return to where we came from and to know what has come before
Three weeks ago, I made a trip to Fuzhou in China with a dozen members of my extended family.
Continue reading ‘my surreal connection to my ancestral home’
Published Tuesday, 17 November, 2015
culture , sociopolitics
France’s national flower is the iris.
Published Sunday, 1 March, 2015
culture , digital life , japan , quoteworthy , science
In Japan, robot dogs can rest in peace
ISUMI (Japan) – Incense smoke wafts through the cold air of the centuries-old Buddhist temple as a priest chants a sutra, praying for the peaceful transition of the souls of the departed.
It is a funeral like any other in Japan. Except that the “dead” are robot dogs, lined up on the altar, with tags to show where they came from and which family each belonged to. They are “AIBOs”, the world’s first home-use entertainment robots equipped with artificial intelligence and capable of developing their own personality.
“I believe owners feel they have souls as long as they are with them,” said Mr Nobuyuki Narimatsu who heads an electronics repair company specialising in fixing vintage products.
Continue reading ‘万物有灵’
Published Tuesday, 24 February, 2015
culture , finance
I was looking at the designs of the hongbaos that I received this year, and noticed that one with blossoms (peach? cherry? plum? they all look alike!) was from Citibank – which is called 花旗银行 in Chinese!