We were woken by our daughter at 4:30am, with a quick yelp and nothing more. We couldn’t get back to sleep, so the day was always going to be a confusing one, fogged by sleep deprivation. I went out to the green screen studio for ten o’clock, but there was a heavy duty drilling renovation project going on in the next unit, so we couldn’t film very much. Instead, we headed to a coffee shop and planned our future, while drinking fairly revolting coffee and eating eggs.
Later, my wife and I headed to Katong, where I saw a strange sign advertising a Non Stop Prata Shop. Frankly, that’s such a good name you shouldn’t need to add anything to it, but under that was an announcement that it specialised in Indian, Malay, Western and Seafood.
Growing up, I never thought it odd that apparently a billion people all ate the same stuff; while it would have seemed strange to lump together French baguettes, German sausages, Italian pizza and British meat pies as “European” food, the entire subcontinent only got one flavour, “Indian”, like they were just an undifferentiated mass.
While we shouldn’t go into how British imperial attitudes parallel British awareness of foreign cuisines, the other thing you’d expect is that, this much closer to both Malaysia and India, a prata shop might start thinking about a tighter specialisation than just two countries and a continent. Oh, and “seafood”, seeing as no Indian, Malay or European has ever thought of eating fish.
Of course, it’s not the oddest sign I’ve seen. Up near Aljunied, I’m sure I saw “Unusual Chicken Rice” advertised. Maybe they were going for “special” and missed something in translation, or maybe it was something too terrifying to countenance.
We went shopping in Katong, and there I saw the second strange sight of my day, a large display arrangement exhorting Singaporeans to celebrate the upcoming National Day by purchasing … medicated shampoo. I don’t know if it’s your civic duty to be free from dandruff, or if everyone should show their patriotism by having great looking hair, but it was a bit of a weird way to merchandise things. At the very least, you’d think they’d bang a Singaporean logo on the actual products, rather than piling them up and hoping a sign mentioning Singapore is enough of an association to drive more sales with proud heartlanders.
Perhaps I was seeing things. We went home shortly afterwards, our baby chastising us for bringing her out with inadequate nappy supplies, and I had to go to bed to make the day go less painfully.