Singapore Adventure

Monday, September 19, 2005

Love, Hate, Name Something You Ate IV
by venitha

  • One thing I love about living in Singapore is...
    ...the unbounded enthusiasm that everyone has for food. Thanks to having spent an extraordinary amount of time chatting up complete strangers on ski lifts, I'm fairly adept at creating conversation out of nowhere, but the endless parade of new people here is thoroughly exhausting to an introvert like me.

    Happily, I have merely to mention that I like spicy food or that I bravely tried durian, and suddenly everyone's talking, with the bonus that I glean forkfulls of valuable dining information, like the die-die-must-try place for sambal sotong (chili squid, pictured) and the names of some great Indonesian dishes I just have to check out.

  • One thing I hate about living in Singapore is...
    The low quality. I'm frequently dismayed by how cheaply things are made, from the clothing to the pens at work to the book bindings. Perhaps I've found the answer to the burning question of how Singaporeans can shop so much when their homes are so small: everything wears out quickly, they throw it away, and go shop for something new. Fairly alarming, I gotta say.

  • A new thing I ate recently is...
    ... okay, it's got nothing to do with Singapore, but mmmmm.... chocolate. Jazz, my hero, brought me this, and in spite of a valiant attempt to savor it, consuming it slowly, letting it melt deliciously in my mouth, closing my eyes and making yummy ahhhh mmmmm oooohhh noises, I devoured the entire thing in about two minutes.

    Thankfully, Jazz gave me eight of these, and I've exhibited far more restraint with the rest of them, doling them out to myself piece by piece and even, hard as it is to believe, sharing with Jim.

  • A new thing I bought recently is...
    ...airline tickets to ! Yeah, yeah, I know Taipei is not the hottest most exciting tourist destination, but Jim will be there for over a week for work, and I'm jumping at the chance to join him for the weekend. Besides, Taipei does have its attractions, including the world's tallest building, , and the world's finest collection of Chinese art, at the National Palace Museum.

    Atop the list of attractions for me, just under, of course, the pleasure of my beloved's company, is the swank hotel, courtesy of HP. We didn't exactly enjoy the Singapore Shangri-la appropriately during our hell week stay in January, and this will be a nice chance to make up for that. Blended beverages poolside, anyone?

  • Something I recently discovered is...
    ...that not all Chinese Singaporeans read, or even fluently speak, or any other Chinese language. To my astonishment, this was revealed when I asked a neighbor at our condo's mid-autumn festival party to read what it said on a mooncake.

    Many mooncakes are conveniently labelled with their flavor and their egg content, valuable information, as there are durian-flavored mooncakes (be very afraid), and the eggs, well, trust me that you want to avoid those, too. It took a surprising amount of hunting among our very nice and well-educated neighbors to find a reader/translator.

    My reaction to this enlightenment was the following unworthy thought, which I thankfully did not voice aloud: So English is your preferred language of communication, and you speak it like this? I mean, clearly you don't even know the proper definition of autumn! Battling racism that I didn't even know I had is a whack-a-mole game these days.

  • Singlish o' the day:
    Is it? or to spell it phonetically, Izzit?

    This is tagged onto the end of any question: You like popiah, izzit?

    Or it's in response to any statement I might make:
    V: I won't be here Thursday afternoon.
    Singlish-speaker: Izzit?

    I haven't yet figured out what it means in this context.

    Perhaps the person did not hear me: What?
    Perhaps the person does not believe me: Really?
    Perhaps the person would like me to elaborate: Oh?
    Perhaps the person is just making a mindless comment: Hmmm...

    Regardless, I find it surprisingly annoying; I can only hope that I uncover its meaning before I have to hurt someone.