Sunday, 23 May 2010

Things I like About Singapore #1

There are many things that I have enjoyed during my time living here and over the next month I shall from time to time record those that have stood out for me.

Starting with the more mundane, I must sing the praises of a local dessert - Chendol (pronounced "chen do").

As with most things that are pleasurable, copious consumption of this treat would without doubt be ruinous to health.  It is rich in both coconut and cane sugar.

The biliously green 'worms' which adorn the creation are green bean flour strips.  It has shaved ice as a base and also contains cooked red beans.  It is the pandan leaf that provides the distinctive under taste.

Some claim that this dish, which is also known as 'cendol', originated in Thailand which may well be true.

The second thing that has impressed me has been the willingness of many Singaporeans to support good causes.  Every weekend there is a roster of school children in the malls or thronging Orchard Road collecting for some charity or other.

But charity does not remain at home and yesterday in the Straits Times there was a rare piece of very good photojournalism. This traced the story behind the recent death of a girl from a remote part of North eastern China who became an escort in Singapore.  An escort is a title that covers a range of activities; anything from a plutonic social escort to a prostitute.

Whatever her motivation or vice, this young lady was found drowned in swimming pool of an expatriate and the Coroner's Court has still decide on the cause of death.  Her family, who are poor peasant farmers, were devastated by the news and sold up their farm to get enough money to come to Singapore and collect her mortal remains and return them to China.

Their story touched the hearts of Singaporeans who rallied around and provided free funeral services as well as collecting a large sum of money to give to the family.  The outcome being that the donations have enabled the parents to buy back their farm.  Even though they have lost a daughter, at least they now have the wherewithal to provide for themselves through the land.

Such acts of generosity are not uncommon in Singapore.
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