Posts Tagged ‘personal’
Artwork of the day: Edvard Munch’s Death in the Sickroom (1893), currently in the collection of the Munch Museum in Oslo.
The painting commemorates the family’s grief at the passing of Sophie, the artist’s sister. Generally Munch’s emotional melodrama is a bit much for me, but death has been on the mind of late; my uncle passed away last week.
We held one of those protracted Chinese wakes that runs on for days, with the family – or a couple of representatives thereof – sitting up all night, every night. And then there was the Buddhist ceremony, complete with chanting monks; the mahjong-playing relatives; the endless flow of packet drinks and vegetarian grub and games of sevens with my nieces; and apparently even a bunch of gangland types – coloured hair and tattoos galore – showed up in full force to pay their respects, courtesy of my cousin’s er, connections.
It got pretty crazy, yeah.
This morning though we finally saw him off.
It was lovely out – a nice change from the constant wet and gloom of late. Under brilliantly cerulean skies and pristine clouds, with chirping birds and a slight December bite in the air, we cremated my uncle and said our last goodbyes.
R.I.P. Kiew Say Par (1937 – 2011).
In which case no one in my immediate family – save perhaps the maternal unit – is making it to the Pearly Gates anytime soon.
I am a big fan of this site’s new, sterilized look though – thanks to The Journalist v1.9.
The old theme was Twenty Ten, which had some features going for it. I started out merely wanting to change my header image; the Cartier-Bresson picture I’d been using seemed a little tired, and I was thinking maybe a Cy Twombly scrawling ? I began fooling around with different themes though, and pretty soon decided on a complete makeover instead.
Header images can be so jejune.
A late Sunday dinner with the maternal unit at the local coffee shop provoked a rather .. interesting episode.
I was at the Indian food store, and decided to ask for some idlis which I saw advertised in fluorescent-lit visuals. If you haven’t had them, they’re delicious. Idlis are a type of South Indian pastry made from rice and lentils, and steamed to moist, spongy, fluffy perfection, after which they’re all ready for a go with curry or some other condiment. Best things ever. In Singapore they’re mostly a breakfast and/or lunch item, a fact which conveniently slipped my mind when I ordered some that evening.
Scrumptious image of idlis from Mahanandi.
The response? Laughter. “No lah brudder, this hour don’t have lah.”
“Your face looks like idli !”
Er, okayy. A rather random compliment, if one wants to take it that way. Or a deviously backhanded jibe. In any case, it certainly called to mind some pretty bizarre images …
… In the end, I settled for two pratas. Which were served up with sides of chicken and veggie curry (good), and sambal belacan (weird). Tasty too, though.
Reading Ignatius Low’s piece put me in a pensive mood.
Last summer I returned home to a much altered Singapore. It was a slightly melancholic experience, realizing just how much of what I had grown up with had now simply ceased to exist. The Orchard belt has, over the last couple of years, morphed almost beyond recognition: ION having taken over the park where Filipino domestic workers used to congregate on Sundays, with other notable victims being the Paterson Rd. crossing, the street level entrance to the Orchard MRT station and the long mural next to it; malls like Wisma Atria and the Paragon, having undergone substantial facelifts, now look and feel like different entities altogether; Specialists’ SC and the neighbouring carpark have vanished to make way for Orchard Central and 313@Somerset; even hotel arcades like the ones at the Mandarin and the Grand Park Orchard have jumped into fray, the latter at present going by the upscale-sounding epithet Knightsbridge.
Even further back, so much of the retail scene of the 1990s are but fond memories for us geriatrics: Tower Records & Books, which hit Singapore’s shores in 1995 and sadly proved an ephemeral presence when just a few short years later it was forced into the background by HMV; HMV, the 3-storey behemoth which made The Heeren the place to head to during my NS days (now a pale ghost of its former self housed in 313, across the street); Borders Books, which made reading hip again for Singaporeans, but sadly looks to be on its way out. Not to mention once iconic presences like MPH (its flagship outlet at the MPH Building on Stamford Rd. the locus of so many recollections involving my young, impressionable, hungry self); the old Plaza Singapura with its indecipherable sculptures by local master Ng Eng Teng; Cathay and Orchard theaters (now both multi-hall cineplexes slash malls); the Metro department stores, which back in the day used to play its signature Christmas jingle come every December: ♪ “Metro lights up your Christmas!” ♪
It definitely feels like an alien world out there now.
This is for all my fellow Singaporeans who came of age in the 80s and 90s.
N.B. Images in this post are watermarked with a cautionary caveat, mostly because I’ve er, filched them from an online archive run by a local government body, which probably wouldn’t appreciate their unauthorized reproduction on this site. So, please, those of you who know what my source is, don’t go ratting on me. Muchos gracias.
The interior of the mall, with Ng’s bronze statues visible. In the upper left hand corner is a Swensen’s restaurant, which was the highlight of my childhood, if only for their delicious lime sherbet fizzes.