Your blog correspondent is in Singapore doing a few things one can’t do here, also hoping to meet up with Very Important Book-type People.
I’ve been been going to Singapore from way back when it was part of the states of Malaysia (it became independent in 1965, I do believe). Mostly in transit to boarding school. Once it was in transit to the States with my family. I was seven or eight. Back then, Orchard Road still had orchards, and the business districts were two-story Chinese shop houses, a few streets of which are now considered a historic heritage. Being a large poor family, we stayed at the YMCA which had the first bottle vending machine I ever saw. I had my first Coca-Cola right out of that machine. Sukarno had banned Coke from Indonesia for being too Nekolim (neo-colonialist-imperialist). A few years later, we could get 7-Up, sold in Kuta warungs (pre-Jenik warung days, if anybody remembers her stall at the beach end of the dirt road there), but without ice. Too sweet for me. I preferred yeh tawar, water straight from the jug, with its firewood flavoring. These were communal earthenware jugs with a long thin spout, and you drank by spouting the water direct into your mouth and without any lip-locking going on. There was an art to it.
Anyway, the Coke. Glorious and cold, sure to taste like heaven in a bottle. With great anticipation, I popped the cap and took a swig and … spat it out. The carbonation surprised me. I hated it.
I’ll drink it now and again, but still don’t like it much.