On Tuesday last week, I noticed that the LaserFlair at West Coast Plaza had signs up advertising some kind of sale. I bought 15 new DVDs for S$7 or S$10 each. It looked like they were about to clear out their rental DVDs, too, so I resolved to return.
I returned on Thursday. I asked the cashier if the shop would be selling the rental discs. She said yes. I asked if that meant I could buy some right then. She said yes. I asked her how much they were selling them for. She said S$5.
Singapore is not a great place for book bargains. However, I have had some luck with book sales that travel around and set up in shopping mall atriums. (Atria. Happy now, Firefox spellcheck?)
If I were the roadrunner, this would be the perfect trap for the coyote to set up. I would fall right in it.
Now, no doubt I have some books that are pretty useless to me. In fact, you could say that at any given time, all my books except for about three of them are useless to me. Some, like the ones written in Thai, Greek, Korean, Arabic or Burmese, are likely to remain useless to me forever.
Still. Still, I ask you. Of what possible use is a book on ROCKHOUNDING IN IDAHO to anyone in Singapore? I mean, I love rocks—and books, obviously—and I fully understand the notion of armchair travel. And yet. This book. It cannot help me find rocks in Idaho as long as I am physically in Singapore.
Am I right? Seriously, this book is never going to sell…
I mean, for the same money, you’d clearly be better off with Daytrips from Washington, DC.
I admit to a level of interest in the vehicles of Singapore that I cannot easily explain. Arguably the focus of this strange fascination is the fleet of about forty numbered ice trucks belonging to JM Ice, I suppose because the trucks are very distinctive and colorful.
I kind of assume that each JM Ice truck has its own territory (truck 37 seems to hang out in Chinatown). The ones I haven’t seen are probably ones that go to parts of Singapore I’m not usually in. The highest number I’ve seen is 38. Sometimes I get photos, but it’s hard when the trucks are on the move!
Below is a record of the ice trucks I’ve seen (including a couple of trucks belonging to JM Ice’s competitors).
We bought this collection of objects (tray and wooden fruit) on our trip to Bali and Lombok, Indonesia.
It occurred to me that each fruit looks like some other object.
The one on the left, which would look like a star in cross-section, is a starfruit. It’s the most familiar of this batch to a North American.
The one that looks like a grenade is a durian. Those are famous for being stinky and prickly.
The scaly fig is a snake fruit (aka Salak). I ate one off a tree while hiking through the woods. It was sticky.
The one at the top is, I think, a rose apple (water apple), and looks like a nose in cross section. This one, however, looks very pear-like and has what look like leaves or a flower at the bottom, which is not typical in my experience. It might also be a pomegranate (delima); that would explain the structure at the bottom but not the pear shape.
The one that looks like a soccer ball is… actually I don’t know. Maybe a sugar apple (custard apple, srikaya)?
We figure we probably overpaid because the guy running the shop gave us the pear-looking-thing for free. I think he also wrote a lower selling price on the receipt and pocketed the difference.
Nevertheless, we love these strange wooden objects. They’re well made, and the detail on the snake fruit, in particular, is amazing.
This is Guan Yu. I saw this Guan Yu statue at Just Anthony (a Chinese furniture and antique shop) a few months after arriving in Singapore, though I didn’t know who he was.
I took the photo because I though it was exceedingly strange for a warrior to be shown in a pose reading a book. Warriors, I thought, were shown on prancing horses, holding swords or spears, or surveying the landscape. They’re not shown reading.
Ah, but you see, he’s a legendary Chinese general, and he’s reading Sun Tzu’s Art of War. That makes sense!
Figurines and statues of Guan Yu are common, since Guan Yu is commonly worshipped as a deity, or at least displayed as a kind of lucky charm. Most of the time, Guan Yu is shown riding his horse like a boss, wielding his special weapon like a boss, or just scowling and holding his very dignified beard, but some of the time, he’s shown seated, reading a book like a boss.
Hats off to you, Guan Yu, for choosing to fight with your brains and not just your brawn.