Calling Thailand My Home

THAILAND is the place where I was born and the place I consider home, even though I have lived in Singapore for seven years now.

In Thailand, we are proud of our food. Actually, many tourists who have visited Thailand will say our food is the best. Moreover, it is also very affordable. Forget about all the fancy food like steak or wine. You can enjoy authentic Thai food along the streets. For only two dollars, you can fill your stomach with one plate of papaya salad, grilled chicken and a little rattan basket of sticky rice. Continue reading

The Long Ride to the North of Thailand

BANGKOK’S traffic is infamous, so when my mother planned a trip up north to the holy province of Phitsanulok by car, I was not a happy camper. So was my sister. Why the car when we could have taken a plane? That would not only have saved us four hours of travel time, it would have taken away all the angst of sitting in stupid, mindless traffic. But my mother always has the last word. Continue reading

For a New Year High, Go Party, and Have a Space Cookie

Paris, December 31, 2016

THE bewitching hours leading up to the New Year is best spent, in my mind, without too much fanfare. In fact, the best way to welcome the New Year is to sleep right through it. That’s been my yearly tradition. No parties for me, none of the revelry, the free-flow drinks, the party hats, or novelties that pelt forth quacking and rude noises. Belting out a solemn and mellow Auld Lang Syne with other giddy and tipsy revelers is just not my thing, let alone trying to find my way home amid the dearth of taxis. Continue reading

Pho, Winter’s Warming Panacea

Paris, January 2, 2017

IT happens to me every winter during my six years in New York from 1997 to 2003. A cough develops, a wheezy feeling descends deep in the chest, and the dry air in a heated room becomes both friend and foe: yes, it warms you, but it has this devilish knack of tickling, teasing, and scratching away at the throat. The pesky feeling said hello on New Year’s eve, my seventh day in Paris, and the second day Paris fell below zero degrees Celsius since my arrival. Continue reading

At Chinatown, Rough and Rude is De Rigueur

Paris, December 27, 2016

TANG Frères, Tang Brothers, the go-to supermarket on Avenue d’Ivry for all oriental grocery, an institution of sorts in Paris, was not as I had remembered it from my last visit there in the summer of 2001. It’s now bigger, louder, more crowded, more unpleasant. The plan was to get my hands on rice, soya sauce, and rice noodles possibly. The Asian girl was starting to wilt from too much bread after only two days. Rice, rice, give her some rice! Continue reading