Sunday, April 27, 2014

Our past -- and our future...

I read with resigned sadness this Sunday Times story (April 27) about yet another coffee-shop based popular food-stall moving out:

Char siew rice has always been a favourite local single-dish food of mine. And everyone swears by his favourite stall. Mine -- in a parallel to that of the story above -- had moved out of its Kellock Road coffee-shop locale and I have since not been able to find its new premises (if it is since plying the trade). That stall's always succulent char siew and siu yoke were arguably the best in town. I could not have described the experience better than this blogger (below) who also swore by the stall's offerings:

He also makes the point that the "story of Singapore food is the story of immigrant cultures". We are now at risk of losing much of that distinctive flavourful cuisine as the culinary skills are not being transmitted in terms of critical mass. Part of the reason why I dislike what passes as local fare in the many shopping malls today is that the dishes are seldom authentic.

But then, that's the price of progress, some (many?) will argue. The old gives way to the new which is often seductively packaged by the glib marketing mavens. In this light, here's my take on a couple of other news items in today's SunTimes:

Catering to the one per cent

Catering to the 99 per cent (well, at least the heartlanders)


I am not sure if we Singaporeans really know what is meant by the "kampung spirit" in today's context. What I know is that so many markers of identity are disappearing or are being transformed and even transmuted irrevocably. I searched for and found this letter in ST, written one year ago:

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