National Gallery Singapore

My husband and I visited the National Gallery.

We went through DBS Singapore Galleries 1, 2, and 3 on Level 2. We saw the Chief Justice’s Chamber and Office, as well as UOB Southeast Asia Galleries 1, 2 and 3 on Level 3. We’ll have to go back another time and see galleries 4 to 15 and the Wu Guanzhong Gallery.

I especially liked:

After visiting the gallery, my husband and I crossed Anderson Bridge, where this photo was taken, and got drinks at Starbucks at the Fullerton Waterboat House.

The round, spiny buildings are the famous Esplanade Theatres.

Old Singapore coin: It’s a lucky day when you find one of these!

Singapore has only been a country since 1965. It has only had its own coins since 1967. This ten-cent coin is from 1968, and belongs to the first series of Singapore, which coins featured sea animals.

The second series (introduced in 1985) featured flowers. There were two versions of the coat of arms, one with the banner bowed upwards and one with the banner hanging down. Supposedly the coat of arms was changed for better feng shui, because when the banner is hanging down, it looks like a smile rather than a frown. The octagon inscribed in the circular one-dollar coin is thought to be lucky.

The third series of coins (introduced in 2013, after I came to Singapore) involved changes in the metal composition and size of the coins as well as the designs, which are now more architectural.

The new coins have mostly displaced both second series designs, though I still get some mixed in with my change. It is quite rare to see a first series coin in circulation now.

Learn more about Singapore’s coins:

Asian Civilisations Museum

My husband and I went to the Asian Civilisations Museum.

We walked through all the exhibits that were open. We saw the Tang shipwreck exhibit, the Chinese scholar exhibit, the Chinese ceramics exhibit, the performing arts exhibit, the trade exhibit, the Islamic foyer, and the ancient religions exhibit.

Below are notes on a couple of the things we saw.

Continue reading Asian Civilisations Museum

Popular at Clementi is no longer a bookstore

This bookshop in Clementi does not sell ANY books.

None. Zero. Not even the bestsellingest of the bestsellers, like you’d find in an airport.

What does it sell? A third of the shop is electronics, another third is stationery, and the last third is full of rectangular objects that are made from paper, ink, and glue and resemble books but are actually test-preparation materials, created for the sole purpose of keeping up with the Joneses—or rather, getting ahead of the Lees and the Tans.

I scowl but I feel like wailing.

THIS is what a bookstore should look like.

(A bookstore should have books in it. Duh.)

That’s the Barnes & Noble near where my parents live. It’s not the biggest bookstore in the city. It’s just a bookstore. One of many—a couple dozen, at the very least.

Okay, so probably all those retail bookstores are struggling, and maybe someday, possibly even soon, Barnes & Noble will die. Certainly many companies have fallen and will fall before the might of the mighty Amazon.

What Barnes & Noble will certainly never do, however, is turn into some sort of awkward amalgamation of Best Buy, Staples, and Kumon.

Hopefully other Popular stores in Singapore will continue to sell books as well as electronics, stationery, and test prep stuff. The one at Marine Parade still does.

Book launch for All the Little Children by Jo Furniss

Jo Furniss, a fellow member of the Singapore Writers’ Group, has published her first novel, All the Little Children, with Amazon imprint Lake Union.

Here she is launching her book at Kinokuniya, Singapore’s best-known downtown bookstore. She answered questions posed by another writer friend, Elaine Chiew, read an excerpt aloud, answered audience questions, and signed and sold all the copies she brought with her. It went great!

On the way into the store, I noticed Jo’s book on one of the tables in the aisle. She’s in good company, wouldn’t you say?

Danielle Steel, Stephen King, Lee Child, Brandon Sanderson, Douglas Adams, Anthony Horowitz, Liu Cixin… and Jo Furniss!
My copy.
Can’t wait to read it!

Chinese and Japanese Gardens

When we visited the gardens in February, we arrived too late in the day to climb to the top of the Chinese pagoda or even set foot in the Japanese Gardens. This time, we arrived earlier.

See below for 29 photos. My favorite is the spiral one pointing up towards the top of the inside of the pagoda.

Continue reading Chinese and Japanese Gardens

Zero-inflection plurals do not include cucumber.

This package of Japanese Kyuri from Malaysia says:

Rich in nutrients, Cucumber are excellent in salads, sandwiches, stir-fry and sushi.

Here, the fact that the singular is being treated like a plural makes it sound as if cucumbers are exotic animals like bison or buffalo.

Recently, though I don’t have a photo, I saw a sign in front of some model planes (in the Tin Tin shop strangely located on Pagoda St in Chinatown) that was advertising “aircrafts for sale”. Ack. No.

For a variety of historical reasons, English has many kinds of nouns that are annoyingly difficult to pluralize, and Wikipedia helpfully lists them.

Interestingly, the cucumber package shows ‘salads’, ‘sandwiches’, ‘stir-fry’, and ‘sushi’ all in the correct form, even though ‘salad’ requires an ‘s’, ‘sandwich’ requires ‘es’, and ‘stir-fry’ and ‘sushi’ are uncountable.

Why, then, was it so hard to give ‘cucumber’ its plural ‘s’?

And why is it capitalized?!