Stephen Young

19.3.07

A Singaporean House and Dinner with Wine!

This week I had the pleasure of visiting an actual Singaporean home belonging to Professor Beng Huat who teaches sociology at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and is a friend of my Aunt on my father's side.

They met while studying environmental science at York University in Toronto and my Aunt Andrea introduced us by email before I left for Singapore. Beng kindly invited both myself and Francie Gow for dinner. Francie is another friend of my aunt's who is studying law at McGill in Montreal and on currently on exchange at NUS. She works as a translator for the federal government, very exciting stuff especially as she is now studying law.

The invitation for dinner came as a welcome surprise and was my first and likely only visit to a Singaporean house. Singapore's dense population lives almost entirely in high-rise apartments, which are commonly subsidized by the government to reduce cost of living. Beng's house was an architectural wonder, including a small pond freely flowing from the outdoor patio area into the living room - and primarily ventilated by windows, doors and open walls which is especially uncommon in the air conditioned paradise of Singapore.

Dinner was as wonderful as the house, including fish, tofu, broccoli, braised beef and a wonderful South African wine! The first wine I've had since coming to Singapore and welcome treat! At dinner we met Beng's wife Evelyn who lived and studied in Toronto before returning to Singapore with Beng. Dinner conversation was fantastic, although I couldn't keep up with Beng's wide knowledge of current events, Singaporean and Canadian politics and general wit. Francie shared her photos of her recent trip to Cambodia and Angkor Wat where she stayed with friends from Canada who now live in Cambodia. She has been carefully selecting her travel destinations to make use of friends and family who'll provide that insider's perspective. A great idea!

The evening was extremely pleasant, leaving me satisfied, full and happy. Certainly a change of pace from campus life and food!

In other news.... after so many recommendations I've decided to visit the famous Angkor Wat Temples in Cambodia. These temples were left from the powerful Angkor kingdom which ruled over much of South East Asia hundreds of years ago. They're supposed to rival the Egyptian pyramids as archetectirual wonders of the world!

That's all for now! Thanks for reading and I'll be writing another post soon enough recounting our adventures in southern China after leaving Hong Kong.

Take care!
Steve

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