The Chinese Herb Garden in NTU

Hidden in a small corner of the Yunnan Campus of NTU is a small garden. An old banner is placed at the front simply titled, 方草园, mandarin for herb garden. Begun in 2009 the herb garden was tied with an academic programme that was started by the University a double degree Chinese Medicine and Biomedicine…

Makan Place – Hai Wai Yuen Sambal BBQ Stingray

Sambal Stingray (Ikan Bakar in Malay) is a dish that has been significantly localised. It was created by Eurasians who were descendants of Portugese traders and local women who created a fusion dish between the two cultures. Stingrays were not a popular fish to use in the past, the meat just wasn’t tasty enough. It…

Jardins Serangoon, the Little France in Serangoon Gardens

The French have been in Singapore since the establishment of island as a British trading post. While their numbers have never been large, they have had an important social function in Singapore. While some were traders, a not in significant number arrived as religious leaders. Particularly Catholic priests. French priests and bishops were the main…

Looking for Ang Sar Lee at Serangoon Gardens

“This is such a different Singapore, reminds me of home!” She remarked enthusiastically as we walked into Serangoon Gardens to have dinner at Chomp Chomp. Like Thomson Road and Braddell Heights, Serangoon is one of the few estates in Singapore without high rise housing. Once nicknamed Ang Sar Lee for the red zinc roofs that…

Makan Place – Zheng Yi Hainanese Beef Noodles

This is easily one of the best beef noodles in Singapore (some other top-notch stores here and here), you could tell just by looking at the shop front. The stall front was full of awards certificates. But the customers where not there yet. I arrived on a lazy Saturday morning before the crowds had arrived…

Masjid and Madrasahs in Singapore

A Madrasah is an arabic term used to describe an educational institution, whether secular or religious. Students don’t actually have to be muslims. Madrasahs go back a long way, with the first university established in 859 in Fes, Morocco. Madrasahs take many forms depending on the country, remember, its just a name. These schools follow…

Makan Place – Peperoni Pizzeria

It’s been 12 years since the first Peperoni’s opened in Singapore, but the concept does not feel dated. Then again pizzeria’s have been around for millennia and the concept is as fresh today as it was when the first pizzeria was open. That’s what good food does, it doesn’t ever become stale. Traditional forms of…

Geylang in the Day

“No no no, no picture!” The store-owner flailed his hands at me and shoo-ed me away. I looked up at the store sign, Chinese Medical Hall it said. Strange I thought to myself, as put my phone back in my pocket. This was only the second time I was “told” not to take a photo…

Mount Vernon – a repose of peace and a post for (Gurkha) peacekeepers

Located west of Potong Pasir, Mount Vernon is a small, quiet hill. Named for former British Navy  Admiral Edward Vernon, Source Mount Vernon is shorthand in Singapore as the site of one of only two crematoriums in Singapore, the Mount Vernon Crematorium. Next to the crematorium is a columbarium and opposite it is the former…

20 Documentaries and TV Shows of a Different Singapore

Apart from movies, our impression of a place is shaped by what we know of a place and what we imagine of a place. We can trace what we know from documentaries and talk shows while we see the life we imagine on the small screen. It’s also interesting to watch the evolution of shows…

Woodleigh-Bidadari, a new estate rises

Most advertisements sell Woodleigh and Bidadari as the place to be far away from the hustle of the city but near enough to be convenient. There is a train station, the Woodleigh station, that is located conveniently near to the condominiums. And a new, modern neighbourhood will be built opposite the road. Construction is currently…

The Braddells and Braddell Heights

Wedged between Bishan (former Kampong San Teng), Woodleigh (Kampong Woodleigh), Serangoon and Toa Payoh is a small estate known as Braddell Heights. The estate is considered an upper middle class estate surrounded by public housing all around it. Unlike the nearby Serangoon Gardens (which was populated by British officials), Braddell Heights’ high vantage point made…

Terraced Workers Dorms and Temples at Upper Boon Keng Road

Foreign workers dormitories are an emotive issue in Singapore. Singapore need foreign workers particularly for the menial tasks where there are no Singaporeans who will condescend to take such roles. I use condescend advisedly. Like all societies that have developed materially, we are at a development stage where our people do not want to be…

Makan Place – Ghim Moh Chwee Kueh

Chwee Kueh , water rice cakes, is a steam rice cake dish served up in Singapore and Johor. Rice flour is mixed with water and then placed in a mini bowl and steamed. The rice cakes are then served with preserved radish and a serving of chilies. Because of its low raw ingredient cost, Chwee…

10 Films from a Different Singapore

It used to be books that shaped our view of the world. Today moving pictures shape them. Movies shape our view of a place. The city may only be the backdrop but the backdrop leaves an impression. To millions, Slumdog Millionaire is their mental image of Dehli; the Beijing Olympics 2008 is the mental image…