29 September 2007

Singapore according to talljoanne

Since I have been getting quite a number of requests for talljoanne tips on Singapore, I thought I'll complie and organize a sticky post from the emails I've been sending. Should be perfect for those of you visiting Singapore for the first or second time! [Updated: Oct 2009]

Directory service for all restaurants mentioned here: http://www.hungrygowhere.com
Fantastic step-by-step instructions on how to get to places by public transport: http://gothere.sg

Walking, Seeing and Doing

»Night Safari. A great, nice out-of-the-city tropical experience. A must-do in my opinion.

Old shophouses of Chinatown / Tanjong Pagar. For the architecture. (Must lunch or dine at Blue Ginger restaurant - see below.)

Little India. Smell the spices and take in the colours.

»National Orchid Garden (the one inside the Botanic Gardens). Gaze at the amazing variety of orchids in this top-class garden. Don't miss the Misthouse. (Note: There is another one called the Mandai Orchid Garden, which is MUCH further but is supposed to be quite nice too.)

Singapore River. (See below section on Clarke Quay and the walk from Raffles Hotel.)

Drinking (combined with some exploring)

Clarke Quay in the evening:
  • Dinner by the river... Tapas Tree, Hot Stones or Jumbo Seafood are good choices;
  • Or a coffee... Sit outdoors at the »TCC cafe, log into our free public Wifi (»virtually everywhere in Singapore now), take a photo of yourself and post it on your blog.
  • Or a drink outdoors... Cafe Iguana, or the bars at »The Cannery;
Singapore sling in Raffles Hotel. Walk towards the Esplanade - our durian-shape performing arts center by the bay. Then go through the underpass walk towards Victoria Memorial Hall. Salute our founder Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Cross the bridge to Fullerton Hotel and have another drink at the Post Bar inside. Think about how wonderful my little country is. If on a Friday, cross the bridge again back to Indochine restaurant by the river and have another drink while listening to live jazz sung open-air.

»Dempsey Road. Old army barracks just off Orchard Road now converted into bars, restaurants and antique furniture shops. Dine under the moon and canopy of huge tropical trees.

Feasting - The Best Part!

»Blue Ginger. Must try. Distinctive Peranakan cuisine (very Singapore / Malaysian, cannot find anywhere else). Go to the restaurant called Blue Ginger on Tanjong Pagar Road. I grew up in that area - in the middle of the city but still charmingly local. Ask the waiter to recommend the top dishes.

Kaya Toast. Kaya is a local jam made from coconut and eggs. Very Singaporean / Malaysia. Ask the hotel concierge to tell you where the nearest »Ya Kun Kaya Toast is.

Chilli crabs and BBQ sambal stingray. Try the »No-Signboard Seafood Restaurant near the Esplanade. You can stroll by the bay after dinner.

Roti prata and street food in general. An Indian slightly fluffy pancake, a delight to watch when it is being flipped in the air! Can be found at foodcourts or open-air food centres. Lau Pa Sat (subway station: Raffles Place) is an easy-to-find place for street food, especially satay. Acceptable quality, but DO NOT eat your chilli crabs here. Stick to Jumbo or No Signboard.


Orchard Road is foolproof but I also like I.M. Pei-designed Raffles City (subway station: City Hall) for more interesting selection of shops and a great skylight. the great When you are in the Raffles City area, wander into Chijmes. An old convent converted to a pub/restaurant district.

For more local buys, Little India and Haji Lane are interesting.

In fact, our Singapore airport is also great for shopping after you go through the immigration! Don't arrive at the airport too late.

11 September 2007

Dr X apologizes he does not have a ppt

This was the subject line I put down a few minutes ago in an email to a conference organizer.

I LOVE it. That singular, lone protest against how we are beaten to death 10 times over by powerpoints.

Dr X is my ex-boss and we are inviting him to speak a conference. He is quirky, maverick, and a bit mafia-like. (To be this when you are in your 50s and in a place like Singapore is nothing short of a miracle.)

But he is also super-smart, very unassuming and is probably the most sincere person (not to mention boss) that I have met.

Often, I wonder how an idealist like him navigates a world like this every day. And sometimes, I even wonder if it will one day kill him.

It seems to me that idealists need someone to help them transcribe between the two worlds. If so, I should like to apply to a classified ad like this:

Helping idealists find space for thinking while wading through the day-to-day
  • Believes in the merits of the Socratic method of inquiry
  • Able to straddle between the ideal and mundane
  • Can convert circuitous conversations into actionable points and powerpoint slides
  • Experience preferred but not required

05 September 2007

Bartering ruffled feathers for lilies

yellow liliesI love love love the smell of lilies.

The worrywart gene is a recessive one

An email to a German* friend I haven't spoken to recently boomeranged with this:

Dear friends,

I'd be away on live firing on:

Tuesday, 14th August 07

So i'd be uncontactable via email. Please sms or call me at +65 - xxxxxxxx if you need to get hold of me.

First thought of a worrywart: 14 August was a long time ago.

Counter-thought of an economist one split second later: Nay, the probability of him forgetting to turn off his out-of-office is higher.

The worrywart patted herself on the back for having come this far over the years. It's now official - the worrywart gene is a recessive one. Hallelujah!

Life is about living the probabilities.

*Alright, not really a German, but a Singaporean who went to Germany for 6 years. German enough!