Happy Year of the Monkey!

That’s New Bridge Road at Cross Street, the focal point of Singapore’s annual Chinese New Year celebration.

This is South Bridge Road at Cross Street. We used to live less than a block from here, on Mosque Street. You can just see a bit of the green entrance to the Mosque on the right.


Note the new tower going up in the background in Tanjong Pagar. That red circle tower (the PS 100 Green Tower) and the dark one next to it (Carlton City Hotel) weren’t there in 2011. In fact, I used to walk straight through the empty lot that is now the PS 100 to get to work.

It’s not for nothing that people joke about Singapore’s national bird being the construction crane.

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Before it was an award-winning sci-fi novel, it was an award-winning sci-fi short story. It’s commonly studied, deep, and poignant. (I’m not really a fan of poignant.)

Flowers for Algernon tells the story of a retarded man named Charlie who undergoes an experimental surgical procedure to increase his intelligence. Algernon is the mouse whose success has convinced scientists that the procedure should be tried on a human test subject. It is clear early in the book, if not from the title of the book itself, that the procedure ultimately fails. Hence the poignancy.

For more on the format, plot and themes, continue reading.

Continue reading Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

No Smoking Prohibited By Law

The sign says:

No Smoking
Prohibited By Law

But it should say:

No Smoking
By Law


Smoking Prohibited By Law


No Smoking
Smoking Is Prohibited By Law

Why? Because it almost sounds as if not smoking is not allowed. In other words, it sounds like everyone must smoke.

Obviously people are not really going to conclude that they must smoke when they see this sign, but all the same, the English is not quite right.

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

See below for my thoughts on this excellent novel, when and why I read it (twice!), and a list of other books I’ve read that are about India or by Indian authors.

My write-up of the premise, characters, themes and what I liked about the book contains some details about the characters that could be considered spoilers but does not give away the climax or resolution of the tale.

Continue reading A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth