Yeehui is a rising senior at a liberal arts college who spends the school year savouring Somerville while often dreaming nostalgically of Accra, and calls Singapore home (if she could only pick one place, of course). Though she's lived in cities all her life, she suspects she is at heart what Singaporeans call a kampung girl, and gets the best sleep on thin narrow mattresses under mosquito net canopies. Suggestions on making a living as a liberal arts grad (or anything else, really) may be directed to her email address: [email protected]!
Earlier, we wrote about the rise of cafe culture in Singapore, with new cafes opening regularly in Singapore’s new hotspots. This is happening at a rate so rapid that the pattern is more than academic; it is palpable, striking to anyone traversing the outskirts and venturing out of the city’s traditional consumer and business hubs.
But what does the term ‘cafe culture’ mean in Singapore? It’s not entirely synonymous with expensive drinks, a privileged clientele, and latte art. Arguably, cafe culture was not imported into Singapore when Starbucks first arrived here almost 20 years ago; it has existed long before that and remains an indispensable part of local culture, although it tends to be less glitzy and less documented by those in social media.
What do you want to change about your city? In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a group of citizens started the #betterKL movement, an initiative to crowd-source constructive ways to improve the city they live in. The grassroots movement sought to move the focus from quotidian gripes about urban life to ideas about how to make the city better. ”Don’t just live in the city, live for the city,” the BetterCities manifesto urges.
Singapore is not a city known for street art. In fact, art in public spaces is strictly monitored in light of tough state laws against vandalism. Some argue these laws are a manifestation of the state’s desire to maintain control over public spaces and curb dissident access to platforms where their message can spread. The government, on the other hand, posits that such laws are required to protect property funded and used by the public.
Haymarket is one of Boston’s oldest, and many would argue, best weekend institutions. Since 1830, vendors have congregated in the open space between the historic North End and Government Center from sunrise to sunset on Fridays and Saturdays, rain or shine, hawking the city’s cheapest produce sourced from wholesalers making space for new shipments. But like so many things that are old and good, Haymarket’s continued presence is not guaranteed, and it seems unlikely that Haymarket will remain the way it is – loud, imperfect but loved, for long.