Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011 (Singapore)

THIS TAKEOUT CONTAINER WAS IMPRESSIVE: Tonight, while waiting for Sandy and Sam Truesdell to get here from Shanghai, I drifted over to the Singapore Takeout event, which was nearby and featured a kitchen-in-a-container. It's all part of a Singapore Takeout campaign that will bring this container (one of the 17 million such intermodal containers in the world) to various cities around the world to help show off some of Singapore's top chefs and top food products. The photos above show the container as things were being set up in the afternoon (top), as people were lining up for food (middle) and as cooks were toiling away inside (bottom).
Tonight's kickoff event featured Janice Wong and her 2am:dessertbar. Well I had some I had her laksa dumplings and a "chocolate foie gras xiao long bao" (right). According to some printed material, this paired pork xiao long bao nestled on a grated dark chocolate "sand" with a chocolate-coated foie gras ice cream alongside. I don't think you're going to get that at Dairy Queen.
Janice Wong will also be on hand when the container drops in on London on June 9-11. Here are the other cities on the tour, which appears to be supported by Singapore-based food manufacturers:
London: June 9-11, 2011
Paris: June 30-July 2, 2011
Moscow: July 15-17
New York: Sept. 16-18
Hong Kong: Nov. 10-12
Shanghai: Dec. 1-3
Delhi: Jan. 13-15, 2012
Dubai: Feb. 18-20
Sydney: March 30-April 2

ALMOST LIKE STICKING YOUR HEAD IN THE (MER)LION'S MOUTH: I took a quick tour of the Merlion Hotel room, which sits on Marina Bay and is an installation-art exhibit in the Singapore Art Museum's Biennale exhibit. (See the March 1 entry.) Usually, the city's iconic, 8.6 meter tall Merlion statue sits by itself on the shore spewing water out of its mouth into the bay. Now it's encased in a nicely appointed $150-a-night hotel room.
The view(s) from the bathroom are nice (left and right). And this is a good way to boost attendance for the overall exhibit. An usher told me the room attracts as many as 1,000 people a day. I believe it. They let in groups of 12-15. You leave shoes at the door. Ushers reminded us NOT to use the toilet. It never occurred to me. I hope it never occurred to anyone. After all, someone is staying there tonight.

HMMM. WHERE TO GO TO COLLEGE? While waiting in line for the Merlion Hotel tour, a young woman came up to me and asked where I was from (it's nice to stand out in a crowd). When I said, "Massachusetts, in the United States," she beamed. Zhang Xintiang (right) also acknowledged she had a tough time pronouncing the state's name. She wanted to talk briefly about colleges. She is on the wait list at Hampshire College in Amherst. (Yes, I told her my brother was in the groundbreaking first class there.) And she has gotten into St. John's (Santa Fe). Clearly, she is attracted by an arts-and-sciences track. (She was, after all, helping out at a Singapore Art Museum exhibit. Her parents would like her to go to the highly regarded National University of Singapore, where she has been accepted, because its much higher ranked and it's "home". But the tug of anthropology might pull her to another hemisphere. Singapore's relationship with kiasu surfaced again. (It has come up in entries for March 4, April 18 and April 21.) She acknowledged that heading to the U.S. is "a bit risky." Probably one of those situations in which there is no wrong decision.

IT'S GETTING A LITTLE BUSIER: The crane activity has risen today as evidenced by the DOWN cranes at the Tanjong Pagar Container Terminal here in Singapore. The Singapore Crane Index [Extremely] Limited Economic Indicator, shows a lot more activity at the dock. Products are moving. Here's the latest look-out-the-window tally:

Date: April 30
Time: 8 a.m. (Singapore time)
Cranes Up (inactive): 11
Cranes Down (active): 16
CRANES MISSING (puzzling): 1

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