Achievements of Sunday/Monday

1. Improved my Sudoku game level from "moderate" to "intricate" on Sudoku Joy.

2. Did a ton of ironing. (I like ironing. Like cooking, it frees the mind while keeping the hands busy, the latter also preventing you from being distracted by any other task.)

3. Had the best yusheng of this Chinese New Year season at Roland's Restaurant.

4. Giggled over the inherent silliness of terms such as "netizen" and "edutainment".

5. Sorted and filed a bunch of business receipts for the last month. Now my wallet can snap shut again. (Also: I need to stop taking so many cabs.)

6. Merged a bunch of duplicate Foursquare venues for Spinelli Coffee outlets in Singapore --- because sometimes the persnickety spirit moves me.

Labels: , ,


Charging into the Year of the Dragon

Busy busy busy. New on POSKOD.SG recently: a slew of lyrical essays on such assorted subjects as Singlish, letter writing and cats (by my old friend Wahj). Go read.

Also, last week I delivered a paper at an academic conference for the first time in my life. The paper: "Troublesome Women as Project and Paradigm". The event: "Gender & Sexuality | Performance & Representation in Asia", a mini-conference organised by NUS and NTU. My partner in crime and co-author: Adeline Koh (rooting for us all the way from the US, where she's based and from which she joined us for the panel session via Skype --- oh the wonders of technology).

Also, today I taught a three-hour journalism workshop to a group of 17- and 18-year-old students. Fun, but I always forget how much teaching wipes me out. I'm surprised I know how to find my way home after it's over.

Also, my cousin Nardac is visiting from Paris for Chinese New Year for the first time in a crazy number of years. Much eating is involved, natch.

Also, I should blog more. Can one make resolutions for the Chinese New Year?



A debut, of sorts

Consider the Kopitiam illustration, by Norman Teh
Illustration by Norman Teh for POSKOD.SG, all rights reserved

I've written my first piece for POSKOD.SG, "Consider the Kopitiam". No, I did not review any food or drink stalls for this story.

An excerpt:
The coffeeshops I remember well are the ones where there were always some regulars at their usual tables, slouched over a tepid cup of coffee or well-iced glass of beer, yet the place felt like anyone could walk in to buy a meal or a drink and they wouldn’t feel unwelcome. At the coffeeshop, you can sit in fan-cooled respite from the heat, and watch Singapore go by on the street or the world go by on the 50-inch widescreen TV set. You can kibbitz with complete strangers about how Singapore or the world is changing all too quickly, yet rest assured that if you shout kopi siew dai ping at the drink stall assistant, he or she (even if non-Chinese) will faithfully bring you the exact concoction of coffee, condensed milk and ice that your encoded order requests.
Read the full essay here.

Many thanks to Kennie, Jeremy, melanderings and the POSKOD.SG editorial team for their extensive comments on earlier drafts, and to my history/researcher contacts who pointed me to useful historical and sociological work on hawkers and coffeeshops. Daniel Goh, ampulets and mr brown also offered helpful background info on some of the mysterious inner workings of our delightful kopitiams.

Finally, a bonus for my blog readers: a sentence that was excised from the final version of the essay because it didn't quite fit. I'm including it here because I think it suits my blog better:
At the basic level, it’s reassuring to know that wherever I live in Singapore, there’ll almost always be a kopitiam close at hand, where eventually the stallholders will remember that I prefer my noodle dishes without chilli, my chicken rice heaped with chilli sauce, and my kopi as black as they can make it.
Comments welcome. Just don't ask me where to find the "best" kopi-O kosong in Singapore.

Labels: ,