Posts Tagged ‘kitchen’

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My life in Singapore…

June 22, 2008

Speaking of Singapore, I was reminded that I have spent nearly 5 months in this city now. Most people think of Singapore only as a polished, artificial visitor’s paradise. There is no denying that a lot in Singapore is geared for tourism–and the number of annual tourists justifies this investment & effort.  But there is another fascinating side to Singapore that you get to see only if you live here.

The first thing I registered about Singapore, after I left the airport, is the bougainvilleas. There is a profusion of these light pink and magenta flowers everywhere along the roadside. Against the backdrop of the lush emerald green foliage, they stand out in tropical gaiety. The next thing that stayed was the contrast between the inside and the outside–the cloying afternoon heat of an island state close to the equator against the cool, sometimes freezing interiors of every enclosed space in Singapore. One can’t help but think that if it weren’t for air-conditioning, Singapore economy would never have flourished.

I live in a two-bedroom apartment on the west side of the island. The west is, apparently, the wetter side of Singapore. It rains on average a day a week, usually in the early mornings or early evenings. And sometimes, like today, these rains can be noisy and violent.

My condo has a swimming pool, tennis court, squash, billiards, gym… and this is standard for most condos here. Right across from the condo is the biggest reason I chose this apartment. A stone quarry that was blasted for stone filled up over the years, into a picture-perfect little lake. The rock face climbs into the sky, across the lake, and the sun rises over the rock face. Some mornings, I walk across and sit down on the rocky shore of the lake, watching the dappled sunlight light up the rippling surface of the lake. A few people are around, some walking by, some exercising in the open and some like me, just breathing in the moment…

And if it’s a saturday or sunday, I walk down to the wet market nearby to grab a cup of thick, sweet typically Singaporean coffee… now this food-court coffee is amazing stuff, really strong and thick, and instead of milk or sugar they usually mix condensed milk so it stays thick and is very sweet too.

See, here’s another interesting thing about Singapore–there are thousands of food courts everywhere in Singapore, and they have Chinese & Malay food, and sometimes Indonesian, Indian and Thai. And when you walk into any of the Singaporean homes, you’ll face a classic chicken-and-egg question… did the food courts come up first so people stopped cooking & kitchens became small, or did they make small kitchens becaue there wasn’t enough space & food courts sprang up to cater to the need for a more efficient solution? Or maybe the fact that domestic help is so expensive has something to do with it. In any case, people in Singapore do not cook at home (the one cloud in my otherwise blue sky–there is no chimney/ exhaust in my kitchen, nor counter space for anything). Families walk down every single day to the nearest food-court and have dinner, as if they’re walking into their own dining room.

And the one thing you’ll always find at any food-court is one stall that serves whole fruits, cut portions and fruit juices. Every single food-court. Fruits are cheap and consumed generously, probably one of the main reasons why Singaporeans have such beautiful skin.

It’s 7.45 on a saturday morning, the rain has just let up and the skies are still grey & overcast… there’s a lot more about Singapore that I find intriguing and unique, but more about that in other blog posts. For now, I’m going to end this post here and go downstairs to grab my fix of sweetened caffeine…