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Chinese New Year, and reflections on combustion

Late Saturday morning, I watched children go down the snow-covered streets with sleds as text messages started to stream in from my family. It was approaching midnight of Chinese New Year in Malaysia, where my family returned every year to reunite with my father’s siblings and their families. It occurred to me that there are a lot of Chinese practices that involve burning stuff. If climate change went up against these deep-rooted traditions, who knows what sort of debate we’ll get into?

Pineapple adventures: Part 1

This is a very special year, because it marks the first (and possibly last, I’m still thinking about it) year that I make my own pineapple tarts. Yes, the pineapple tarts that are an essential item in every Chinese Singaporean’s house during Chinese New Year.

What I did not expect, was that the five pineapples I cut up and cooked into jam would eat all my fingerprints.

An old news story – Kopitiam in Boston

Yes, it really is an old news story – so old that I got a little embarrassed to send my professor another reminder that it’s still not on the BU News Service website. But still, I think it deserves to be out there, and so, even though this is supposed to be a science blog, I’m going to very shamelessly self-publish my story here: Kopitiam in Boston.

Kopitiam in Boston

As noon approached on a recent Sunday, a line of people began to form outside the multi-purpose room in the M.I.T. Sidney Pacific Graduate Residence. These people were mostly from Singapore, queuing patiently, as Singaporeans are known to do, for good food. The rich aromas of cooking curry mixed with various aromatic spices began to waft from the doors. The chatter grew louder, more animated, until it abruptly fell to an absolute silence as a student came out of the multi-purpose room and calmly began to instruct people what to do once they went in. Then, the line started moving. The kopitiam was open for business.