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"For the Review of the Month our Mystery Writer living in Singapore takes a walk through the cradle & heartland of Singapore Peranakan Culture, Katong. Our Mystery Writer for the month is an expatriate from the shire of Lancashire. Tune in to next month's review to read the review written by another Mystery Writer"

It was one of those days that was absolutely dreadful & humid, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, Those days where the sun beats down on you mercilessly and the very heat emmiting from the air around you stifling to say the very least. I could have thrown away my walking shoes and traded them for chusion padded slippers, languishing as it were in my comfortable armchair right at home. But my interest got the better of me for this was the day where I ventured of with a friend on our so called galavanting sprees, or as most people call it "bargain hunting". No, I'm not referring to the good Old Shopping sprees at all, Im talking about antique hunting. Well we decided to head of to the Peranakan Heartland of Katong, so well known as it is for its delicious and mouth watering Laksa, the best in Singapore I'm told, though I may be dreadfully wrong.

We arrived Katong at around mid day or so and I was questioning myself on my sanity for going out in such nasty weather and contemplated turning back to whence we came, Im glad that I didnt. We stopped at the bus stop near Katong Shopping Centre and headed to the nearest coffeeshop for lunch, I didnt particularly fancy a dish of Laksa at all as Ive grown rather accustomed to it, guess what I had ? I had the most delicious plate of Nonya mee Siam, brewed to perfection. Its been ages since I've had true blue Nonya Cooking in months. After a fulfilling and satisfying lunch we headed down the road and decided to take the bus over to our destination. Ive been told not to say or mention names due to the infringement of privacy so I wont mention the name of the shop and the like.

Right, diverging as usual, now back to the story : we came in unannounced and made our way through the shop, stopping to look at all the beautiful nonya beaded embroidery and "objects de art " of old. I thought to myself as I admired and looked in amazement at these delicately made works of art, " My, my if only I were as good as they were in beadwork in those days, I wouldnt need to do any knitting at all, ever" On my very first visit to Katong and the eastern part of this tiny little island, I have never once stopped to look at such beautiful works of art at all , the very thought of looking at something as beautiful as it was made me feel that Singapore had a lot to offer indeed.

I enquired and asked the friendly, hospitable owner about this very attractive piece of Peranakan culture I had my eyes on and the person in question was very kind to do all the enlightening that I ever needed. I learnt so much within that short frame of time, around half an hour to be exact. My knowledge of Peranakan Culture was basic, almost rudimentary, to say the least, all I knew was that it developed around five centuries ago in the islands of the Malay Archipelago. I'm not a very cultural oriented person either, not at all in fact therefore I was not ignorant at all in a serious non laughable way. Afterall Ive only been in this island nation for a year or so. To keep a long story short and of course Ive been asked to summarise this article to a fraction of what it was originally, I learnt that Peranakan Culture being forged by three worlds as it is, is extremely exotic, delicate, rich, colorful and fascinating. Come to think of it in deep retrospect it is quite similar to the Victorian Culture of old 19th Century England, of course England isnt any bit Victorian at all as it was in the past, thats passe really.

I have come to admire Peranakan Culture, its like a culture I never ever had. I look to it as a vestige of beauty that modern culture lacks in more ways than one. Its opened my eyes to a whole array of cultural understanding and it makes my stay in this part of the world all the more enjoyable. Ive bought a dainty antique sarong kebaya to use on special occassions and as when the need arises and so did my friend. I'm learning how to do nonya beadwork soon and am just thrilled to discover a little hidden secret to Singapore's mosiac of cultures in the midst of all this modernity. My newly aquainted nonya friend is giving me nonya cooking classes as well. Well thats all I've to write for now, till next time!


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