Monday, March 29, 2010

Sir Stamford Raffles Statue

Singapore (formerly called 'Temasek') existed way before Sir Stamford Raffles, an Englishman, came here in 1819 and founded a trading settlement. That marked the founding of modern Singapore. He signed a treaty with Hussein Shah of Johor and transferred control of the island to the East India Company, in return for monetary compensation. William Farquhar became the British resident of Singapore and Raffles left soon after. Raffles left instructions for town planning according to the Jackson Plan establishing segregated ethnic quarters near the Singapore River. He also drafted the first Constitution of Singapore in 1823. He was interested in the natural sciences and established a Raffles collection that today lives on as the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research. It has a fascinating collection of flora and fauna specimens. He returned to England in 1824 and not long after in 1826, at the age of 45, he died of apoplexy. The longest he ever stayed in Singapore is 8 months yet he left a lasting legacy.

The pictures show the statue of Stamford Raffles on the north bank of the Singapore River, at a spot he was believed to have first landed.

That's my World

Monday, March 8, 2010

ode to street food


I'm turning foodie, as in doing a street food series. Ode to street food. See previous post for first in series.

Our bodies need carbo right? In the West it's often bread and potatoes. In the East, we can't live without our rice. We start getting cold turkey without rice. Am I exaggerating? Not really. 

Rice dishes can take varied forms. The top picture shows the roast duck rice. Roast meats stalls sell this dish. The roasted duck skin is crispy and fragrant and the meat is also fragrant and taste gamey like duck. You eat it with cucumber slices and side condiment of chilli (if desired). It makes a satisfying meal.

The French loaf in the second picture is called roti john. The story goes that some English guy wanted it with egg and minced meat (beef or mutton) fried in the loaf and kept ordering it so the original vendor decided to call it roti john. You can drizzle with mayo or chilli sauce. Whatever. It also makes a simple tasty meal. You get this dish from Malay stalls.

The third picture shows prawn soup noodles. The prawns are deshelled and the shells are boiled to make a very rich stock so you get a tasty broth. Then just boil meat, prawns, vermillici, beansprouts and kangkong (water spinach), add fish cake slices, and voila, a noodle meal that's tasty. Some vendors add pork bones meat and charge more.

Mum's not cooking? No worries. Go eat street food.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pantheon of gods

G is easily associated with God, only in this post, God isn't monotheistic (as in Christianity, Judaism and Islam) but polytheistic.

The Hindu pantheon of gods include Vishnu, Ganesh (elephant god), Shiva, Kali (Shiva's wife), Brahma (creator) and in this temple at Tank Road,  the Sri Thandayuthapani Temple, the child god, Lord Muruga, rules. The temple is famous for a statue of an elephant's backside in a seated position, which is rare.

It is most notably the end point for Thaipusam, a festival which involves piercing of bodies and carrying of kavadis, elaborate structures which pierce the body of the carriers, in a procession of thanks.

abc wednesday