Friday, 13 July 2007

Taking The Pisang

There are plantains aplenty in these tropical climes. It's not a question of 'going bananas' but rather deciding which of the many types one wishes to purchase.

My favourite are the Pisang Manis variety - a smaller variety with a compact texture and intense sweetness. They do not appear in any abundance in the local markets which seems to suggest there are few commercial plantations, unlike some other varieties such as Pisang Raja.

All of which leads me rather nicely one of my favourite deserts, goreng pisang, which is a calorie-laden fried banana and a local delicacy.

The Malays have a penchant to create kerepek (chips) out of a variety of edible items and kerepek pisang is another use for the humble banana.

'Banana Republic' is a more derogatory term usually reserved unstable regimes in various parts of the Pacific and Africa. To this group I would add the entity known as UNSW Asia. Fortunately I only have another week in the employ of this now defunct university and I shall be pleased to terminate any association with the Sydney-based UNSW.

I count myself doubly blessed to have secured a more senior role at Singapore's most prestigious university - the National University of Singapore, or NUS for short - and to be able to remain in Singapore for a few more years at least, all going well. Many of my former UNSW Asia colleagues have not been so lucky and local Singaporeans caught up in this mess have probably suffered most.

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