Singapore has an amazing and irrepressible food culture
Singapore has an amazing and irrepressible food culture
A cousin and an uncle of mine at a “steamboat” restaurant at Golden Mile. As you can see, food’s a serious business here! :-)

Over the years I witnessed surprise and mild disbelief on the faces of those to whom I unabashedly gushed, “Singapore has the best food in the world.” Apart from the problem of the “-est” suffix that we Americans tend to put on all kinds of opinions, I think what led to all the confused looks in the first place was the idea that I was comparing Singapore’s national dishes to those of other countries. Obviously, there’s no real way to compare shepherd’s pie to boeuf bourginon, other than to say they are both hearty comfort foods from the countryside.

What I had meant to say all these years, with benefit of hindsight, is that “Singapore has one of the most vibrant and irrepressible food cultures I’ve ever seen.” On this most recent of what are now annual visits to see family, I attempted to get a better grasp on this food culture. I should note that even a book-length article would be insufficient to adequately explain Singapore food culture. This piece is meant solely as an introduction, which means I won’t be going into detail on how the dishes are cooked or what ingredients they are composed of. I won’t even begin to scratch the surface of the many choices available to Singaporeans every hour of every day. …


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Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

So it turns out that one of the side effects of lockdown was a sharp uptick in my reading as my social life evaporated overnight. Living in Paris is defined, in part, by coffees and meals with friends and with that option off the table for large portions of 2020, I threw myself even more into my stacks of books than I would have normally and in so doing managed to read 150 of them. …


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Photo by Christian Dubovan on Unsplash

Nine hundred euros?” I was stunned. The admin person for a French school in Paris had just called me back and told me that was the budget I had to spend on French classes. I had spent a couple weeks sending some paperwork, stopping by their office to do an assessment, and just waiting. It turns out that part of my social contributions as a small business owner in France goes into a fund which is then augmented by the government should I choose to use them. I hadn’t made anywhere near to 900 euros of contributions into this particular fund, but the government said I was entitled to that much. …


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Image by F1 Digitals from Pixabay

One of the misconceptions many have before moving to France is that living here will make us “fluent” in the language in a short time: 2–3 years at the very longest. Not only have I come to appreciate that fluency in any language, including your native tongue, comes after 15–20 years, but that fluency in French will take at least that long for me, if not longer. But that doesn’t mean I can’t get around or have conversations with strangers on a variety of topics. It just means I won’t be able to speak at great speed, have cultural landmarks and references readily at my command, and will sometimes lack the ability to speak about a complex idea. …


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Photo by Khamkéo Vilaysing on Unsplash

The arrival of Autumn last week was underlined by rain and punctuated by cold: summer is officially over in the City of Light. It was, by all accounts, one of our quietest summers in recent history, as we were bereft of many of the non-European tourists that normally flock to our city. But I had used that time to mull over an idea that had first occurred to me during lockdown: the Covid Location Test.

The test is simple. Imagine that you were told that you could not leave your city (or if you’d like, country) for the next twelve months. How would that make you feel? Use those feelings to ponder the fundamental question: are you truly living the life you want to live? …


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the last time I was with Father Cekada in person: July 2019

When I first called St. Gertrude the Great Catholic Church in 2006, I could not possibly have imagined the beginning of a relationship that would not only deeply impact my life, but the lives of many others. I had just interviewed Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, an SSPX bishop; in this interview the bishop had referred to Benedict XVI as a heretic multiple times and in fact had taken control of the interview even as I had tried to end it by giving numerous references to the “heresies” of Benedict XVI. I called a close friend that same day, expressing my shock, and went on to call Fr. Anthony Cekada. While I had been attending the Masses of the Society of St Pius X for nearly a decade at that point, everyone knew Fr. Cekada to be an authority on sedevacantism. I wanted to hear how sedevacantists would treat the question of papal heresy, as no one in the SSPX in the modern era had ever publicly referred to the man they call the Pope as a heretic. Fr. Cekada was friendly from our very first conversation. I told him that I wasn’t a sedevacantist, but in the interests of understanding the Bishop’s comments, I wanted his take and was willing to publish it on what at that point was simply the fairly new True Restoration blog. Father obliged by producing a short piece calling attention to some problems in Bp. Tissier’s position. …


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Photo by Austin Kehmeier on Unsplash

In many ways, the Web has moved on from Craigslist. And yet, it persists, continuing to quietly generate hundreds of millions in revenue each year through the labor of roughly 30 employees and the army of users who make the site so popular. Why does Craigslist still matter today, and what can we learn from its success story?

Origins

Craig Newmark had already spent 17 years at IBM before, frustrated with management, he resigned and moved to San Francisco in 1995. As he connected with more people in the then-nascent Internet, he was impressed with the trust, friendliness, and willingness to engage with strangers that he observed. Seeking to spread some of that openness he found online to the real world, he created a regular email featuring events in the San Francisco Bay area. The list was small at first, with only 10–12 people, but soon enough it “went viral” (before such a term existed). …


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Photo by Julie Rotter on Unsplash

After a year which saw many people move into remote work for the first time in their lives, or be physically isolated from young ones, or face financial hardship through no direct fault of their own, trends which were already strong have accelerated. One of those trends has been the growth of experiences over the purchase of physical objects and the growing research that shows more contentment and happiness in memories generated by shared experiences rather than in the ephemera of purchases (especially when those purchases blissfully lack self-awareness). …


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The photo is one of my passport pages. As you can see, the French don’t really care whether there’s “room” for a new stamp. 🙂

So in an earlier post I shared that I had been pickpocketed late last year and hence no longer had my physical four year Carte de Sejour, which was perhaps the hardest-earned French document in my possession. In that same article I noted that it really wasn’t such an important document in terms of daily life in France, and after this most recent theft, I had a number of trips in which an EU residence card had no relevance: visits to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, Italy, then Bulgaria. However, then a little thing called lockdown happened and when we were finally deconfined, the EU residence card took on a new meaning. …


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Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

I recently bumped into this piece that I had been working on for one of my professors 11 years ago. I never submitted it anywhere, probably for no other reason that time constraints. I’m finally letting it out into the wild, with no edits.

I typed in the code from the receipt onto the keypad. The speaker box said, “Thank you! You have selected our Ultimate Wash, the best wash we have available. Please pull forward.” “Sure,” I replied, and rolled up my window. The machine almost sounded excited that it wouldn’t have to suggestively up-sell the more expensive car wash to me. …

About

Stephen L M Heiner

Singaporean-born American in Paris. I connect, educate, and build, AMDG. Follow my adventures at www.theamericaninparis.com.

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