Saturday, 18 April 2009

Cramping One's Style

Here in Singapore the sport of choice is soccer, or football as it is termed by all concerned. Coming as I do from a rugby loving nation, the term 'football' applies to the New Zealand national game and that is not soccer.

It is the S league that dominates in these parts and it is about the only thing worth watching on local television.

There has been a bevy of scantily clad young women that have recently appeared on our small screens mid week, but I expect their tenure will be short lived as their 'show' S factor has been universally panned.

I digress. The S league is lively and it is noticeable that there are large numbers of imports in all teams; aging Europeans, wiry Koreans and the odd Australian (and I do not mean this in the literal sense). There are a good smattering of Malay and Indian players but very few Singaporean Chinese.

Inter country rivalry is also to the fore when Singapore plays other countries such as Myanmar or Indonesia. It is not uncommon for players from the opposing team to violently object to a refereeing decision, manhandle the Ref and watch off the pitch en masse.

Playing at altitude is not a problem in Singapore, although the same cannot be said for a local Brazilian team. Their team doctor has decided to prescribe viagra for all players in the belief that the little blue pill will improve blood circulation.

One can only imagine that this well meaning prescription would very much cramp their style and their stride.

The other thing that is cramping everyone's style here in Singapore at the moment is the return of the heat. The past week has brought brain-curdling heat with little respite. We must just hope for a refreshing thunder storm or two to drop the temperatures a couple of degrees.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

There's Money In Muck

.... or more precisely in old sewing machines.

According to a story on the BBC today there has been a collecting frenzy in Saudi Arabia.

The item of choice, old sewing machines. No doubt the Saudi populace were placing enormous bids on EBay for these items as well.

If the details are to be believed the asking price for these vintage treadles has gone as high as $50,000.

Why might one ask has the humble Singer suddenly become so collectible? The answer is simple; they were victims of a hoax.

A mythical substance called red mercury was believed to be present in these old machines and the lucky owner could make a fortune as it purportedly can help with the discovery of old gold or the making of a nuclear bomb.

How do you know if your machine has this substance? There is a simple test. If you place your mobile phone next to the machine's needle and the line cuts off, that proves the existence of the substance.

What this story actually proves is not the existence of 'red mercury' but just how gullible people are. I doubt very much that President Ahmadinejad has been stockpiling sewing machines but one cannot be sure.

Could this whole story be a CIA fabrication to divert attention away from plutonium?

Friday, 10 April 2009

Spam Print .............................................................. Roger Smith

It's Good Friday, the weather is hot and humid and we have just returned from a lunch at Redhill market - satay bee hoon from the best purveyor of this fine cuisine in Singapore. There are some who claim that a stall on the East Coast is better, but for my money Redhill is best and it is only one stop down the MRT line from where we live.

On the subject of food (is there any other subject in Singapore?), not such good news regarding the deaths of two people and the hospitalisation of nearly 150 others from food poisoning at a hawkers stall.

The Indian Rojak stall at the Geylang Temporary Market was the offender and from the accounts coming out in the media the hygiene standards in the market have been simply appalling - surely an indictment on the levels of supervision from the inspectors who are meant to be monitoring these eateries.

According to the Straits Times it is the Vibro parahaemolyticus bacteria caused by the cross-contamination of rojak and raw seafood ingredients that caused the outbreak. It probably does not help that the market is also rat infested - 51 caught in just one night.

Speaking personally, I will not eat from any Indian hawker stalls, based on my observations of their food handling (and I mean handling) and the upset stomachs that result. Most Chinese stalls have reasonable standards as do the Malay, although in the case of the latter I have had a bad dose of "Delhi Belly" during my time here from eating at a Malay stall.

Even the Health Minister has come out and bewailed the deteriorating standards in Singapore, although this belated commentary will be of little comfort to the families who suffered and are continuing to suffer from this food poisoning outbreak.

It goes without saying that we have never had any such problems with the Redhill satay bee hoon stall.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Singapore, Crossroads of the East

This clip is from the Travel Film Archive and shows Singapore before the Japanese occupation.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Black Sands

And so he said
shall I
upon a summers night
in Waitara town
walk upon the black sands

cool to the toe
shuffling underneath to feel
the tuatua burrowing away
from the advancing tide

the bleached white ewe skulls
emerging above high water mark
brought down by rivers flow
scattered amongst driftwood
their upward arms towards a menacing sky

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Could this be Singapore's Most Miserable Meal?

If you are thinking of eating Malay food at the padang stall in the basement foodcourt of Tanglin Mall - forget it!

The 'meal' above cost $4.50 and consisted of a mini bowl of rice and one small cube of beef rendang. So miserly was the meat portion that the vendor lent over and teased it out with a fork so it covered more of the platter.

No gravy was forthcoming until I asked for it and the vegetable portion size was barely adequate, as can be measured by the scale of the dessert spoon & fork utensils.

$2.50 in most hawker stalls will give you a reasonable meal of meat and two vegetables. While mall food is more expensive at the very least the meat portion should have been tripled in size.

Coming hard on the heels of the Great Prawn Rip-Off at Newton's Circus it is not surprising that several of the hawker stalls of Singapore are receiving a bad press.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Esplanade Siesta

Esplanade Siesta Roger Smith, March 2009