Epigram Books Christmas Pop-Up Store

10687480_761678180536013_6348579867881950473_oEpigram Books sends me tons of books, so the least I can do is help publicize their annual pop-up store!

Get your holiday shopping done the Epigram Books way this December—great Singapore stories, massive bargains, hearty conversations, and free prosecco!

My recommended buys: A Certain Exposure by Jolene Tan; Blanket Travel by Kim Da-Jeong (Translated from the Korean); Girl Overboard!: A Rose Among the Thorns and Girl Overboard!: A Rose Grows in the Jungle by Sheri Tan and Fernando Hierro; The Epigram Books Collection of Best New Singaporean Short Stories: Volume One Edited by Jason Erik Lundberg; The Goddess in the Living Room by Latha, Translated by Palaniappan Arumugum, Sulosana Karthigasu, Kavitha Karumbayeeram, Yamuna Murthi Raju, Ravi Shanker, and Kokilavani Silvarathi; and The Last Lesson of Mrs de Souza by Cyril Wong.

The sale runs runs from Friday, December 12 to Sunday, December 14 at 1008 Toa Payoh North, #03-08. Happy shopping!

Holiday Gift Guide 2014

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So, I thought I’d take a hand at creating, with my rudimentary Photoshop skills, a Singapore-inspired holiday gift guide for you! I’ve tried to find things for every budget and personality, and I very much hope you enjoy it.

1. Spotted Nyonya: Vessels with Covers (S and L), SG$1380.00 and SG$1580.00, respectively. 

2. A donation in the name of a loved one to AWARE’s Sexual Assault Care Centre, Singapore’s only specialised service for women who face sexual assault.

3. Blue Botanica Flat Notes by Kala Pata, SG$30.00.

4. Almost Perfect Coconut Gula Melaka Granola by The Edible Co., SG$14.00.

5. Phoenix Sonata by bamboo bee, US$1499.00.

6. “Islands Of Singapore” set of stamps, SG$2.92.

7. Hibiscus Exploded 01. by Fong Qi Wei, price on request.

8. Inheritance: A Novel by Balli Kaur Jaswal, SG$26.88 at BooksActually.

9. Leyden Camera Bag by Aide de Camp, SG$369.00.

Birdwatching

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Oddly, or perhaps not, the Toddler and I have taken to birdwatching. (Not at Jurong Bird Park, although we have visited!) There are 385 bird species that can be found in Singapore, including migratory species, and we use this exceptional online resource to identify the ones we spot.

The most memorable sightings, for her, have been of an Asian fairy-bluebird (Irena luella) and of a crimson sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja), because of their magnificent coloring.

Most recently, we spotted a Oriental pied-hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) perched on a lamppost on the street on which we live. These large birds are commonly seen on Pulau Ubin and sometimes at Changi and are the only truly wild hornbills found in Singapore; they are also listed as “Critically Endangered” on Singapore’s Red List, which means there are fewer than 50 mature individuals in the wild.

Kala Pata

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Another stationery company I’ve been meaning to write about for some while…

Kala Pata, founded by graphic designer Amreen Rahman, is an affordable stationery brand inspired by the sights and colours of Singapore. The line’s Singapura collection is inspired “by the quirky little shops along Joo Chiat Road, the array of colourful shophouses on Arab Street, Peranekan utensils from my favourite restaurant, and the quaint kopitiam on Killiney Road,” says Amreen. Kala Pata’s products include greeting cards, iPhone covers, notebooks, wrapping paper, and boxes.

The brand’s name, Kala Pata, translates  to “banana leaf” in Bengali, and is a nod to Amreen’s South Asian heritage, as are the names of many of her products (i.e. Blue Padma [blue lotus] Wrapping Sheets, which I love).

Kala Pata is currently stocked at the Peranakan Museum gift shop, the Singapore Art Museum gift shop, the National Museum of Singapore gift shop, and Haystakt, Jooix and  Naiise.

Connect with Kala Pata on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Weave Co.

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Several months ago, The Weave Co. posted a short interview with me. The Weave Co. makes premium stationery products using recycled materials and traditional fabrics ethically-sourced from around the world. The Weave Co.’s journey began when co-founder Azizul Kamal traveled to Sri Lanka and witnessed how fabric, traditionally used in blankets, could be used in stationery products.

“The fabric that we source for our products reflects the culture of the communities that have produced them,” co-founder Amirul Idham Shah told me. The Weave Co. sources their fabric in partnership with social enterprises that provide gainful employment to local fiber arts communities and use recycled and upcycled materials to minimize environmental impact, such as Tribal Textiles (Zambia), Dsenyo (Malawi, Zambia, and Brazil), and Indego Africa (Rwanda) “Much of our quality assurance is done online,” Amirul adds. “We hope to allocate resources to travel to our suppliers as our business grows!”

The Weave Co. is currently stocked at DulcetFigSeriously Ice Cream, Naiise, and Hipvan. They are currently offering 20% all products on their website until December 4.

Connect with The Weave Co. on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Migrant Worker Poetry Competition

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On Sunday, ten poets from South Asia showcased their literary talent at the National Library.

I was unable to attend, so I was very pleased to see all the shortlisted poems and author biographies posted on this site earlier this week. The Bengali and Tamil poems are accompanied by English translations. (And those of you who can read Bengali and/or Tamil can appreciate the alliteration, assonance and consonance, and prosody in these poems in their original tongue. I’m sure the translations—by Gopika Jadeja, Debabrata Basu, Shivaji Das, and Souradip Bhattacharya (Bengali) and Krishna Udayshankar, Gopika Jadeja, Shobhana Udayshankar, and Vinod Krishnan (Tamil) are perfect, but there is just something special about reading/hearing a poem in the language it was originally written.)

To paraphrase a friend: “I hate that this is framed as ‘Singapore worker poetry'; it’s so much more.” Perhaps an expansion of what constitutes “Singapore poetry,” I hope? Read them; I have yet to decide which of these poems is my favorite.

The French Bookshop

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Pooja’s tour of Singapore’s bookstores continues!

Several weeks ago, I made a visit to The French Bookshop, Singapore’s only exclusively French bookstore, in Tiong Bahru. Singapore is home to 9,200 (!) French expats and many, no doubt, from other French-speaking countries in Africa and the Americas.

The French Bookshop, located in renovated shophouse with high ceilings and plenty of natural light, sells new and used books, CDs, and DVDs, all in French. My French is passable, mais mon mari parle français couramment and could spend days here. The bookstore also carries an excellent selection of children’s books (which kept my toddler occupied).

The French Bookshop’s website carries a vast inventory; they ship domestically and to Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia for a small fee.

Like The French Bookshop on Facebook. The bookstore also hosts art exhibitions and events.

o o o o o

Know of any other foreign language bookstores in Singapore? Wanna open a South Asian language bookstore with me? (J/K, OK! Someone, please steal this idea and make it happen!)

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