Times book sale at the Centrepoint atrium

It’s a trap!

I do not need more books, but I love looking through the random collection of not-quite-current titles whenever I see an atrium sale. The serendipity of it is what appeals. I can’t not buy discounted books on topics I find interesting!

I bought:

  • How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
  • The Eighty-Minute MBA by Richard Reeves and John Knell
  • Simplicity by Edward de Bono
  • Neurotribes by Steve Silberman
  • A Field Guide to Lies and Statistics by Daniel Levitin
  • Happiness by Design by Paul Dolan
  • Malaysa Singapore: Fifty Years of Contentions 1965 – 2015 by Kadir Mohamad
  • Passage of Time: Singapore Bookstore Stories 1881 – 2016 by Chou Sing Chu Foundation
  • 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up by Bianca Schulze
  • The Movie Book by DK

Evita (2018 musical in Singapore)

It is a night of sparkles and shining lights.

A crystal cascade hanging in Marina Bay Sands mall over what used to be a plastic ice-skating rink delivers a magical sound and light show for the benefit of diners at the food court.

The performance itself is less magical than we hoped: the music is cacophonous, we strain to hear the words, and while we don’t much admire the social climber Lloyd Webber depicts, neither do we much like the narrator who mocks her. Nevertheless, arrayed in flashing white jewels, Eva Peron captivates when she sings…

Seen from the rooftop of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the domes and supertrees in Gardens by the Bay glow below in the darkness: don’t drop your phone.

If you look the other way, skyscrapers downtown shout the names of their tenants in lights the colors of bank logos. Save your pennies! they seem to say. See the 1996 film version instead. Too late now.

Singapore is not in China! How to send mail to Singapore.

The confused US Postal worker who wrote “CHINA” on this envelope must have gotten Singapore confused with Hong Kong.

Technically, it’s better for people outside Singapore to write “Singapore” or “Rep. of Singapore” or “Republic of Singapore” on the last line to indicate that “Singapore” is the country as well as the city. After all, there are a few other places called “Singapore”.

Below are several complete address examples for postal mail to Singapore. All of them include a six-digit postal code. The last line can be omitted if you are in Singapore sending postal mail to someplace else in Singapore—or if you have faith in your country’s knowledge of global geography.

Continue reading Singapore is not in China! How to send mail to Singapore.

King Rat by James Clavell

Here’s a favorite quote from King Rat:

Writing can be just about the most important job in the whole world. If it’s any good…. A writer can put down on a piece of paper an idea—or a point of view. If he’s any good he can sway people, even if it’s written on toilet paper. And he’s the only one in our modern economy who can do it—who can change the world.

For some thoughts on the novel, check out my post on Asian Books Blog about King Rat.

When and Why I Read King Rat

I’m re-reading this novel for Asian Books Blog. I read it in 2001.

Genre: fiction (historical)
Date started / date finished:  14-Jan-18 to 26-Jan-18
Length: 352 pages
ISBN: 0440145465
Originally published in: 1962/1983
Amazon link: King Rat

Blog of the month!

Okay, so technically it’s one of five blogs of the month, but they gave me this badge that says “blog of the month”, so here we are.

It would be foolishly optimistic for me to assume my blog is about to “go viral” or start making me big affiliate bucks or whatever, and in the search for content to feature, I don’t assume I was terribly close to the top of the list.

Nevertheless, I’m pleased to have been selected, I’m seeing an (undoubtedly temporary) traffic bump since the listicle was published, and I even went so far as to create a Facebook page for this blog, in case any of you temporary visitors are thinking you might want to hear about future blog posts that way.

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