It may be unfashionable but I’m shouting it out anyway – It’s good being a daughter of Singapore. It’s something to be immensely grateful for. I had flown from the Little Red Dot to the North Eastern USA for a wedding and then a book reading in Virginia. Unexpectedly, my country offered me a launch in their Washington DC embassy, the first of my book promotion events in the USA. I expected a subdued cosy evening, I found out they’d pulled out the works! This was one moment
I’m stepping out of the box. The last three nights I’ve had nightmares. They were all related to one of my two WIPS’s – the one about a detective solving a series of ritual cannibal murders. I needed saving from my own imagination! Youngest was the rescuing hero. Digging around the store-room under the staircase yesterday he discovered my old leather art-portfolio. Stuffed in it were some illustrations I did for the two older children. They were meant to accompany a series of
For me, Constance Singam the Singapore feminist and civil society activist, is the epitome of true grit Brought up in a patriarchal South Indian Catholic household, almost promised off to a Kerala Indian boy in the next village when she was twelve, married for love soon after her first job to an older man and then a housewife who didn’t even have a driving license for eighteen years, Connie blossomed in widowhood. Now, we know her as the mother of Civil Society. When Consta
I’m exhausted from the week that was but thought I should check in with everyone just to let you know how everything’s been. It was seven days of both sweet and bitter. Sunday November 2nd – I attended my first literary festival event as a panelist. I was euphoric seated between two world famous award winning writers. I came back to earth with a bump at the book signing later, when my line emptied in about six minutes and theirs stretched for a good twenty minutes more. Mond
Sarah Pannir’s spotlighting Marina Bay Sands today, the Mid-Autumn Festival I campaigned against this casino development. Since its completion, we’ve had more problems with addicted gamblers, under-age commercial sex and tourists who drop in specially to commit crimes in our suburban housing estates.
But, Sarah is right. Like any seductress, Marina Bay Sands is beautiful and beguiling. People say Singapore is a workaday efficient city bereft of charm. On this weekend, when a
I live in Singapore, 7,800 kilometres away from Syria and 15,400 kilometres from New York City. I’m black haired and under five feet tall. I don’t have an American accent or a navy blue passport, so its unlikely I’ll be shoved overboard a ship or thrown off a plane in the event of a hijacking. I won’t, now, lose any men in war. My husband is way past the age of the draft. My older son isn’t inclined to volunteer to fight and my younger son, who’s deaf, won’t get past the m
We’re just back from remote Lugu Lake, Yunnan China where my friend Choo Wai Hong traded in her high-flying high-stress corporate lawyer’s life for this: – the view from her front window – a handcrafted tribal living room – and time and more time to look back at her choices and write all about it. It was a huge change going from tropical rush-about Singapore to the quiet of these Northwestern Yunnan mountains to live among the matrilineal Mosuo. For our friend, it was the rig
Give up clothes-shopping for a year!!! That’s the challenge my fellow tribe-writers Kathleen Caron and Pamela Hodges are on. Following their progress, it seems to be turning out profitably. Giving up shopping isn’t only about saving money, but also time. It’s about regaining focus on what’s important in life. See Kathleen’s update about it here http://kathleencaron.com/how-i-quit-shopping-and-became-happier/ Photo Credit http://www.myitchyfingers.wordpress.com I haven’t shopp
At 12 noon on Friday 21st June, the Pollutant Standard’s Index hit 401 in Singapore, the highest in Singapore’s history. The PSI, which measure sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone and particulate matter of 10 microns or less in the atmosphere, exceeded the 300 level considered hazardous. Average 3 hourly PSI had exceeded the hazardous level late on Wednesday night and Thursday before hitting the 401 level on Friday. Thank goodness they’ve eased off over
No dear reader … it wasn’t me, it was my muse. First the spoiler – this coming of age tale of a Chinatown girl’s affair with her Australian professor set in the rainforests of Borneo isn’t about me. The facts are stranger still. It started with the Asian Financial crisis in 1996. Working in the financial sector then, and stressed from seeing the currencies of one neighbouring country after another entering free-fall, I’d spend my lunchtimes wandering around Fort Canning, the
We’ve moved on to Stage 2 of the Singapore Conversation. We’re talking about specific issues regarding Singapore identity and culture now. Here’s my 2 bits’ worth: A Singapore identity must evolve organically. It’s not about flags and the national anthem. It’s about the lives we live, who we are. It’s about Singaporeans creating a body of art and literature that is resonant with our voices and our shared experiences. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Stephanie Ye My constructive cont
Singapore’s 2013 budget certainly tries to give Singaporeans what they’ve been clamoring for: Stricter limits on foreign labour, carrots and sticks to increase local productivity, a more progressive tax structure, more measures to cool house and car prices. But when we get what we ask for, we also get the consequences: The devil’s in the details and the implementation… Debate in Parliament, on the blogs, and in whispers among the moneyed classes has already highlighted concer
The buzz surrounding the proposed high-speed train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, capital of neighbouring Malaysia has been mostly positive. Cartoonist James Tan in his blog http://seijieiga.blogspot.sg/ illustrates the economic benefits anticipated by the Prime Ministers of Singapore and Malaysia, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong and Mr. Najib Tun Razak perfectly above. What does it mean though on a personal level? My first thought was – one more transportation option for Ipoh! Ipoh, th
It’s been a long time since I’ve been so excited about a trip. The last time I experienced this degree of anticipation was 20 years ago, when my husband brought my two older children and me to Vietnam for our first visit. I can understand why I was so anxious to see Vietnam. The country and its history loomed large in my experience. It was my husband’s birthplace, his family had become mine if only through their monthly letters through the 15 years of my marriage before the
February 10th – it’s New Year again! Popiah wrapping fronted by lettuce, filling, and everything else This is the New Year my family really celebrates. And for our traditional New Year’s Eve re-union dinner, we make a special popiah. Something everyone always clamors to be invited for. (An aside for those not in the know – Popiah is a mixture of braised julienned vegetables and meat wrapped in a soft rice flour roll with lots of ‘sides’…) The popiah at our house is a combinat
It’s about hearts The debate about the Population White Paper has unsettled me It’s the week before the Lunar New Year. Normally, this is my time for trimming our Vietnamese mai trees, baking pineapple tarts and Indonesian layer cake, getting my popiah filling ready for the family re-union dinner on New Year’s eve and arranging the flowers and decorations. Actually I’m still going through the routine. But instead of focusing wholeheartedly on my tasks, my thoughts keep drift
Banana at close quarters Apparently not, according to Mrs. L. Not even after an 8D7N All Taiwan All Mandarin immersion into Chinese culture. “You’re such a xing something something…” she said as she shoved me away, aghast. I’d just given her a big heartwarming bear hug. She’d looked out for me the whole trip, making sure I went on my rest-room breaks, retrieving my purse each time I left it dangling from the back of my chair during meals, recommending the best souvenirs for m
IT MAKES YOUR BLOOD BOIL DOESN’T IT? The number of university spaces we’re giving to foreign students from South East Asia? The fact they’re getting loans with better terms than our local kids? It isn’t fair, I’ll grant. But, it’s not the students’ fault for wanting to better themselves. And if the schemes are there, we can’t blame them for wanting to apply. IMPORTANT THING IS FOREIGN STUDENTS DON’T JUST TAKE, THEY ALSO GIVE. Music isn’t what most Singaporeans associate with
6 MEN ON A BUS DID IT.
WITH WHAT THEY HAD BETWEEN THEIR LEGS.
WITH AN IRON BAR THAT DESTROYED HER INSIDES. She was a 23 year old Indian student who boarded a bus in New Delhi with her boy friend. They had just been to a movie and were going home. Six men took turns to rape her and assault her with an iron bar. Then they threw her and her companion off the moving bus. That was 2 weeks ago. On Thursday, December 27th, she was airlifted to Singapore. She died at 4.45 am on S