Showing posts from July, 2015

Song to a lost Malaya and a different future

Major ear-worm weekend after watching 7 Letters  on Friday night!  A film funded under Government's SG50 initiative and bearing the theme "home", it was easy for this Royston Tan-led project 7 Letters  to go the way of celebratory contrivance. I am glad it didn't. Each of the 7 shorts ended with a quote from the directors. Tan Pin Pin's seemingly cryptic "We are what we know" (interestingly the only short film to gesture at a future) was for me one of the ways of approaching this film.  So what do we know? The strongman's tears when announcing Singapore's separation from Malaysia has been the definitive moment of the nation's birth. Not a mother's, but a father's tears. So singular and protected has this image been that we are hard pressed to write another narrative. In any case, history - whether official, dominant or re-visioned - is so thinly examined that we are at best left with nostalgia.  6 of the 7 short

time to read

Stone school bench in the Open Book cafe at Grassroots Book Room, Photo by J Grassroots Book Room  草根書室  is fast becoming one of our favourite places on this tropical island. Although my Chinese is not good enough to figure out half the books there (or less!), on a Saturday night, that place is an oasis. There is a respective silence, the books so lovingly arranged, and the bookstore owners know their stuff and never bother you. Last Saturday, we realised only when we got there that they were hosting a Q&A session with a Malaysian writer who lives in Taiwan. We didn't know who he was but the conversation seemed interesting enough for J to bear with the crowd. Towards the end of the session, as the questions thinned, the host invited a student to speak, impromptu, on behalf of her peers. Somewhat stunned, she took a while to gather her thoughts - "I... I... I... I... You...[the audience laughs] said that young people today are glued to our mobile scre

a coming-of-age dish

As a kid, there are some things you would eat only if threatened with a journey to hell and back. Spring onions. Chinese coriander. Celery. Ginger. Century egg (which 3/4 of the world, even the grown ups, won't eat). They are adult foods. And one day when you find that you don't really mind eating them, and may, in fact, quite enjoy their taste - aha, friends, you have grown up. Officially. This ain't no food blog. But this dish is vegan, delicious, and has all that stuff to prove you are no longer a child. I call this dish - Grow up & eat ginger, you! In short, G.U.E.G.Y, which you can pronounce as Gu-Ee-Gee. Ingredients for 2-3 hungry adults The main ingredients are: 1.5 cups of long grain rice (black, red, brown or white - I use black rice because anything black is *cool* ha.) 2 pieces of Firm tofu  (Tau Gwa) 200-300gm of Mushrooms (I use Korean Shimeiji mushrooms) Cherry tomatoes (20 of them? Go with the flow.) Wolfberries  (1 handful) Sesame seeds


J looking like he is 33. Oops, he is  33 in this photo. 10 years 2 months ago, we launched this T-shirt under our homemade "ampulets supplies" label. A man lies staring at the night sky, dreaming of the world's best BBQ chicken wings. "Starry Starry Wings" was inspired by the world's best BBQ wings in the world, found right in Toa Payoh's Lorong 8 market. Friends, the wings are no more.  Don't bother making the trip with an empty stomach. And we won't be bringing them wings to your potluck sessions. Despite our pleading with him to reconsider his decision, Wing's mind was set. He has had enough of standing in smoke all through the night and the escalating price of frozen wings. For some nostalgia, here's why we think they are the best wings in the world ; and here's something about the neighbourhood that once had them. As J and I walked past the market this evening under a full moon, ah - the absence of that smokey frag