Of Books, Bukits, and Bondage

This morning, Prescott, Everett, and I hiked up Bukit Timah for Everett’s first trip to the highest point in Singapore.  We saw lots of green things and a few small monkeys playing in the trees as we learned about Everett’s first two weeks on the job managing a business news office.  He appeared more enthusiastic about that conversation (reasonably so) than he was about the photo op at the top …

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We went to Springleaf Prata for brunch afterward, where Everett had prata for the first time (we, on the other hand, have lost count of how much we’ve had).  I was excited to find this beautiful water lily near the restaurant:

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Afterward, Everett and I went to the Salvation Army’s Praisehaven Thrift Store, which was a far stranger experience than we’d expected.  Compared to a thrift shop in the US, there was very little clothing and a remarkable amount of furniture.  It also looks like someone uses the Salvation Army for their random-object overruns, because you can buy everything from five small identical dalmatian statues to sixteen identical ugly yellow vases.

In unrelated news, I decided to undertake a kueh cooking experience.  “Kueh” is a word that covers a broad range of small desserts, but the unifying feature is that they’re generally all made with either glutinous rice or glutinous rice flour.  I made kueh lopes, which are small bundles of glutinous rice cooked in pandan-flavored water and later drizzled with palm sugar syrup.  Making them turns out to be a huge project that involves banana leaves, twine, patience, and a whole lot of swearing when your patience runs out.  img_9954

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My cookbook calls these, “bondage kueh,” and it’s easy to see why:

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They end up being moist and delicious after a long time on the stove, but as Prescott says, “it’s not clear whether the juice is worth the squeeze.”  Still, they’re the cutest dessert I’ve made in a while.

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Tomorrow I’m heading to China for a week to chaperone twenty sophomore boys on an SAS Interim Semester trip, so before I leave and lose my mind, I thought I would share some book recommendations:

  • For Fun and Smiles:  The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson
  • For Lush Romance (in the plot and in the writing):  The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
  • For Reflections on Race, both Humorous and Not:  Sellout, by Paul Beatty; The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, by Heidi Durrow
  • For a Spunky Girl Scientist: The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly (though I recommend starting with volume one, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate)
  • For Crying (on the bus; on the stationary bike; by the pool): The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander; Lily and Dunkin, by Donna Gephart; Orbiting Jupiter, by Gary Schmidt
  • For a Challenge:  Purple Hibiscus, by Chimamanda Adichie
  • For Hope in America:  Hometown, by Tracy Kidder

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