You want minimalism? Look elsewhere. I love my stuff. This category includes posts about bills and coins, books (including books in languages I can’t read), rocks and minerals, small little bowls, embroidered patches, and animal figurines.
Oral language is a blur. We don’t notice, unless we try to sing karaoke and realize we have no idea what the words to our favorite songs actually are, or—worse—that we’ve been singing them wrong with utter conviction for decades.
Eggcorns (plausible malapropisms) are words or phrases that exist thanks to this kind of ambiguity. Wrong song lyrics, in case you’re curious, are called mondegreens.
On classified ad sites like Carousell, language assumptions that pass unnoticed in speech are made visible. You can learn a lot about the local dialect by cataloging the unintentionally hilarious mistakes that local native English speakers make.
I just recently bought ten books at an atrium sale, but that didn’t stop me from browsing the Junior Page atrium sale and buying these six.
The King Arthur Trilogy by Rosemary Sutcliff
How We Learn by Benedict Carey
Screenwise by Devorah Heitner
Head in the Cloud by William Poundstone
Born Reading by Jason Boog
Peak by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
The cashier asked me how long it was going to take me to read them, as if either I had a superpower or was biting off more than I could chew. I think most of the people shopping the sale were only buying one, two, or three books at a time. Tough to make back the rental fees at that rate, I would think.
And yet in Square 2, the shopping mall next door, there was ANOTHER atrium book sale running at the same time.
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!
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
I now have coins that have a young portrait of the queen on them, coins that have a slightly older portrait of the queen on them, a full set of the current coins, and a handful of coins with special designs.
I collected the current coins, the current bills, a slightly older set of bills, a couple of older coins, a special $10 note, and a squashed penny from The Interislander ferry.
Below is a chart showing when changes were made to New Zealand’s bills and coins. (The change from a yellow line to a green one indicates the switch to decimal currency.)
It seems like every government bank, bureau of printing and engraving, or monetary authority likes to taunt visitors with displays of cancelled bills no longer able to be used as money. Here’s the display at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand:
You won’t see a live kiwi in New Zealand unless you’re a dedicated birdwatcher or you go to a zoo. Unlike kea parrots, seagulls, and ibises, kiwis don’t hang out around humans and swoop down from the air to snatch crumbs from your lunch. They’re nocturnal. Moreover, they can’t swoop.
Nevertheless, tourist shops are overrun with kiwi bird keychains, t-shirts, mugs, shot glasses, paperweights, coasters, playing cards, baseball caps, fridge magnets, and figurines made from plastic, wood, glass, and metal.
Although I like animal figurines, and the kiwi is obviously the iconic New Zealand animal, I refrained from buying a kiwi figurine until I saw this inexpensive, tiny, rubber, made-in-China creature. Perfect.