GIVEAWAY: Emily Saves the Orchestra by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra

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I’m giving away three tickets to Emily Saves the Orchestra by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra! In this family concert, “drama, dance, dazzling masks and costumes are woven together with orchestral music in a story about bravery and hope… audiences across the globe have fallen in love with this production which features excerpts from some of history’s most beloved pieces, including Beethoven’s Ninth SymphonyThe Nutcracker and William Tell Overture.”

Emily Saves the Orchestra is suitable for ages 4 to 14. (Every patron requires a ticket. No admission for infants-in-arms.)

To win a set of three tickets to Emily Saves the Orchestra at Victoria Concert Hall on Saturday, November 21 at 2pm, leave ONE comment below. (Entries without an email address will be disqualified. Multiple entires will be disqualified.)

This giveaway is open to my readers in Singapore only and will close on November 9, 2015 at 12:00AM UTC/GMT +8 hours. Three winners will be chosen by random.org and be announced on November 11, 2015. Good luck!

Many thanks to all who entered!

The lucky winner of this set of tickets is… Kelly (comment #1)!  Congratulations, Kelly! I will be emailing you shortly for your mailing address.

China Rich Girlfriend at The Rumpus

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In June, I blogged about Kevin Kwan’s new novel, China Rich Girlfriend. Today, on The Rumpus, an eclectic online daily magazine, I expanded that post into a short essay about reading, frames of reference, and Western privilege.

An excerpt:

While Singapore has put me somewhere entirely new in this racial hierarchy, I have also found myself vaunted higher along another axis of privilege. In Singapore, I do not benefit from positive stereotypes about South Asians in the way I do in the United States. There, I am rarely asked, while browsing a clothing rack, “Do you work here?” because I am Asian American; here, I am frequently asked this. However, in Singapore, I benefit from enormous Western privilege.

My US accent and native English language ability nearly guarantees that I will receive better service in restaurants and shops. My US passport assures that I can travel in and out of Changi International Airport with minimal hassle. It makes it likely that my Singapore Permanent Residency application was approved with less scrutiny than my China passport-holding expatriate friends, and that landlords accepted my tenancy application while rejecting potential India passport-holding tenants. My elite US degrees mean my academic and professional qualifications will never be sneered as from a “mill,” or questioned by a prospective employer.

Even within the South Asian community in Singapore, I benefit from being North Indian and fair-skinned. This colorism or shadeism is rooted in the European colonial project, and both Singapore and India were former British colonies.

When a Chinese Singaporean acquaintance made a prejudiced comment about “Indians” in my presence, I called her out. She replied, “Why are you so upset? You are practically ang moh,” a derogatory term for a white person. Such statements, at first, rankled me. How dare you place me in proximity to whiteness? But, she was not incorrect, was she?

Continue reading “China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan.”

Why You Should Visit Singapore’s Little India Now at Serious Eats

DSC_069120150413-fifth-season-momos-pooja-makhijani.jpg I’m over at Serious Eats, a site with “a democratic yet scientific approach to cooking the best dishes, busting food myths, and delivering strong opinions on what you should eat next, where, when, and why,” with my guide to best experience all the vibrant foods that make Singapore’s Little India special.

An excerpt:

When I first moved from New York City to Singapore, it was in Little India, a neighborhood to the east of the metropolis’s Central Business District, not an American expatriate enclave, that I found an escape from homesickness. It was here that I heard the melodies of familiar languages and ate familiar foods, dishes that my family has cooked and eaten in both the Old World and the New.

Serangoon Road, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, has been for centuries a commercial and community space for immigrants from the Subcontinent. Indians were among the first migrants to Singapore in the early 19th century, and Singapore was part of a larger interlocking colonial network, the hub of which was India.

The area continued to develop as the center of South Asian life (largely Hindu and Tamil speaking), as a focal point for a new migration, and as a growing commercial center. The name “Little India,” is a Singapore Tourism Board (STB) concoction—the moniker was not used until the 1980s. That was when Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority earmarked Little India as a conservation area and STB demarcated the neighborhood as a cultural heritage tourism area. Today, the neighborhood is a religious and cultural hub for the South Asian community, both local and foreign, as well as a major tourist destination.

Food is the neighborhood’s choice commodity, yet few travel guides detail the rich and unique cuisines found in Little India. Where else can you find the authentic tastes of the entire Subcontinent in the area of less than one square mile? The flavors found in Little India are the real deal and not watered down for Western palates; the neighborhood’s restaurants cater to this city’s large, diverse and discerning South Asian population.

Continue reading “Why You Should Visit Singapore’s Little India Now.”

Bookbinding on Sassy Mama Singapore

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I’m over at Sassy Mama Singapore with the second of a three-part book arts DIY series!

An excerpt:

Basic bookbinding requires no heavy equipment. All you need are a ruler and scissors and a few other minor tools. If you are keen on building a professional-quality hand bookbinding toolbox, click here to see where in Singapore you might buy your materials (or a close approximation thereof).

Here, I’ve partnered with Keith Premchand to bring to you and your children three easy bookbinding techniques. This series of posts by no means encompasses everything there is to know about book making, but I hope that it will inspire you to explore more!

Continue reading “Project 2: Paper Bag Ephemera Journal.”

Bookbinding on Sassy Mama Singapore

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I’m over at Sassy Mama Singapore with the first of a three-part book arts DIY series!

An excerpt:

Basic bookbinding requires no heavy equipment. All you need are a ruler and scissors and a few other minor tools. If you are keen on building a professional-quality hand bookbinding toolbox, click here to see where in Singapore you might buy your materials (or a close approximation thereof).

Here, I’ve partnered with Keith Premchand to bring to you and your children three easy bookbinding techniques. This series of posts by no means encompasses everything there is to know about book making, but I hope that it will inspire you to explore more!

Continue reading “Project 1: Accordion-Bound Travel Scrapbook.”

Literary City Guide

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I’m over at Eat This Poem, a literary food blog helmed by writer, blogger, content developer, community builder, good food advocate, and home cook Nicole Gulotta, with a short “Literary City Guide” to Singapore! An excerpt:

BOOKSTORES

Basheer Graphic Books. Basheer Graphic Books carries a range of art and design titles, from fashion photography monographs to furniture design tomes, from cinematography manuals to ceramics encyclopedias.

Wardah Books. Wardah Books stocks an astounding collection of English-language books on Islamic philosophy and Sufism. I love the cheeky section titles in Wardah Books, such as “Reign of Quantity” (books critical of modern capitalism) and “Matters Still Unfolding” (books on politics and Islam).

Woods in the Books. This picture book shop houses picture books, graphic novels, and comic books for children and adults.

COFFEE SHOPS

La Ristrettos. La Ristrettos is hidden in Novena Medical Center; grab a seat on the terrace for a quiet meal.

The Plain. The Plain serves comfort food (including all-day breakfast and delicious open-faced sandwiches) and great coffee.

Loysel’s Toy Cafe. Best known for its premium gourmet coffeeconcoctions tucked away on the banks of the Kallang River.

Continue reading “Literary City Guide” to Singapore.