Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011

ELEMENTARY, MY DEAR WATSON (& CRICK): We walked around Marina Bay, a saunter, actually, which took a little less than an hour. We crossed over the water at the casino using a double-helix bridge (above). It's quite a walkway and provides a great panorama of the city.

YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SENSE OF HUMOR IN SINGAPORE: Along the walk, Sandy spotted an advertising banner fluttering in the breeze (a persistent puff, actually). The banner (shown above and at right) features a catchline of "Go Topless". Perhaps it's one of the last commands you would expect to read in a place like Singapore. The small-print reveals, of course, that this is a play on words. The banner reveals (on its barely readable bottom) that this is for "a new top-less bar at the rooftop of the Waterboat House." It means, of course, that there's no roof, and the moon and skyline are visible to patrons, who appear to be fully clothed.
This means that it's remotely possible for a Singapore newspaper to use a headline like the one the New York Post used in 1983--one that's recognized as one of the great English-language headlines of all time: "Headless Body In Topless Bar" (right). Incidentally, we're about ten days short of the ONE YEAR anniversary of the rejection of parole for the man behind that killer of a headline. He was denied parole in early 2010. The Post's story of that denial included a copy of that front page headline (right). His next parole hearing is in December 2011. The Straits Times here has also had some good headlines. I liked the one from last Dec. 20: "I wouldn't have accepted kidney if I knew it was from my wife's lover." Here's the original story on that one, from Dec. 18. The follow-up, which had the headline to which I refer, apparently isn't available online.

AN ORCHARD OF TREES: We went to the great shopping mecca on Orchard Road in the early afternoon. The place bristles with upscale stores (e.g., Louis Vuitton, a two-story Cartier, 22 shopping centers). With the Valentine's Day holiday approaching, some store windows featured some amazingly provocative items, such as a blow-up "John" doll, something for which I refuse to Google. One store was the House of Condom--in Lucky Plaza. Really. This is all distracting me from what I really wanted to point out. For me, who's usually totally unaware of surrounding plant life, the most amazing aspect of the street is the bountiful trees arching overhead. Evidently these are Angsana trees, which arrived here in the early 1800s. They are native to the Malaysian peninsula. More on them here. I understand that there was talk of cutting them down around 2005 for the sake of the shopping. Glad they withheld the ax. A downside: the trees are sometimes brittle. The branches tend to break off easily in storms. The BMWs and Audis on Orchard Street are vulnerable.

NOTE: Food will likely have a major role in the coming months in Singapore. Ann Niederpruem sent Sandy this link to an NPR interview with an author of a memoir linking food and Singapore called A Tiger in the Kitchen.

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