Did you know that Singapore just celebrated its 50th anniversary as a country? The only reason I know is that Daniel and Zion attend Singapore School, where this was a big deal. The school dedicated an entire week to SG50 festivities. The boys learned more about Singapore that week than I’ve learned in a lifetime. Ok, confession: I didn’t even know if Singapore was a country or a city until this summer. Turns out, it’s both. It’s an entire country made up of only one city.
Daniel and Zion came home each day and told us all about the history of Singapore, the wise sayings of Lee Kuan Yew, the SuperTrees and other attractions, and the amazing festivities (like air shows! and fireworks! and games!) taking place for SG50. They told us about foods that are eaten in Singapore. Zion especially enjoyed learning about ice kachang. And Daniel entered an art contest, with each entry displaying a famous quote from Lee Kuan Yew.
The boys’ school had special events, and I was able to go at the end of one school day for the “Let’s Makan!” event. For this event, the school made different Singaporean specialty dishes and sold them from individual stalls, just like the Hawkers stalls that Singapore is famous for. Most Asian countries have thriving street food cultures. But in a nutshell, Singapore wanted to make sure its street food was safe and cooked in sanitary conditions. So they established Hawker centres, where stalls were set up for licensed vendors to hawk their various foods. This is an oversimplification, but it’s a working explanation for a bunch of kanos (white Americans). We sampled ice kachang: a cup of shaved ice with sweetened condensed milk and various other syrups squirted on top, much like a snow cone, but with frozen corn, black beans and little cubes of gelatin added in as well. It was a colorful treat. It was also disgusting.
The week of SG50 led perfectly into our vacation, though: coming up soon, our trip to Singapore!