Category Archives: Singapore

Travelling With Steamed Pudding

My son made a brown Betty, a type of steamed pudding, for dinner before I left Australia for England.

These desserts were a staple of my childhood. They make one feel comfortable and comforted; the trials of life are, however briefly, soothed by the warmth and calm of such food. There is no ‘trying’ in the presence of a steamed pudding.

They bake in a covered bowl on a rack in a pot of boiling water. When the pot lid is removed, steam issues forth. When the cover of the pudding bowl is removed, steam rises. When the pudding is cut and laid in slices on a plate, steam wafts. This brown Betty of my son’s seemed to have soaked up some of the moisture. Rather than sitting pertly in fluffy slices, it slumped on the plate, moist and done in.

steamed pudding

That’s how I felt when I exited the terminal at Singapore. I was the brown Betty in the steam of Singapore. Continue reading

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The Sight of Smells

I was 15 when I first smelt Singapore. I landed with my school band (I played the flute). The aeroplane door opened. I stood at the top of the steps and inhaled.

Sultry. Complex.  Heavy with spice. Layered, year upon year like sheaves of history.

The aroma has drawn me ever since. I remember it at odd times. I have wanted to immerse in it again to enjoy and to refresh my memory. Alas, passengers are now funnelled from the plane directly into the airport building. By the time one emerges into the air, the aroma is barely noticeable. It has seeped imperceptibly into one’s olfactory system . The moment of immersion, of recognition, has been stolen.

I may never fully smell Singapore again.

But I have the sight of smells.

The durian, that contradictory fruit whose repulsive smell has earned it its own sign on trains, has reached gargantuan proportions.

Fun-loving architects have left a trail around the city.

In an interesting reversal, this boat carries its own expanse of water – a 150m infinity pool (accessible only to hotel guests).

The value of tourists is duly noted with them emerging from a cornucopia.

I’ve never been to Dubai, but the extravagant shopping centre at Marina Bay Sands had me feeling that I had been transported to that acknowledged showcase of resource-devouring, environmental remodelling. Even a shopping centre with one storey and old-fashioned floors can put me in an odd state of dislocation from the outside world. This one had a PhD in disorientation, with majors in wanton excess and fun.

Float from end to end in a sampan, passing beneath miniature Venetian-style bridges.

Hitchcockian lights roost above a stage.

  

For information on the Marina Bay Sands Skypark, including the public viewing area on the stranded boat, click here.