Memories

The Dajia Mazu's litter arrives at a small temple in Xingang, Chiayi, allowing locals to pay their respects and celebrate the sea goddess’ birthday. (SPH Media)

Taiwanese art historian: The joy of sharing food in old Taiwan

Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun reminisces about the good old days of simple food and heartfelt folk religious festivals, where regular households threw banquets and opened their doors to friends and strangers. It is in those vignettes of daily life that all of Taiwan’s generosity, harmony, magnanimity and acceptance are on display.
A woman buys pork at a market in Taipei, Taiwan, 4 August 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Remembering Mother's cleaver in the 'Palace of Versailles kitchen'

Amid the grandeur of his friend’s deluxe kitchen, Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun remembers his mother, a skilled cook. With simple tools and deft hands, she whipped up artisanal meals worthy of many a great restaurant.
Believers gather near the Trinity icon at the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius in the town of Sergiyev Posad, Russia, 18 July 2022. (Maxim Shemetov/Reuters)

Impressions of Moscow: Miracles and hope at St. Sergius Monastery [Part 4]

In the last of four articles, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai shares his impressions of the Moscow he knew from a decade ago. On a day trip from Moscow, he is awed by St. Sergius Monastery, the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church.
A statue of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (iStock)

Impressions of Moscow: Pushkin influenced a whole generation of Chinese [Part 3]

In the third of four articles, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai shares his impressions of the Moscow he knew from a decade ago. Everywhere one turns, there are traces of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, a beacon that shines so bright that even the Russians say he doesn’t only belong to Russia, but the world.
People walk along Nevsky Avenue in Saint Petersburg. (Photo: Ninara/Licensed under CC BY 2.0)

Impressions of Moscow: Beauties on Nevsky Avenue [Part 2]

In the second of four articles, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai shares his impressions of the Moscow he knew from a decade ago. He revisits the cultural significance of Nevsky Avenue ((Nevsky Prospekt), a street on which stood literati residences and salons and where feminine beauty was on full display.
People walk through Red Square's Resurrection Gate with backdrop of St. Basil's cathedral at the City Day celebrations in Moscow, Russia, 10 September 2022. (Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters)

Cultural historian: Impressions of Moscow [Part 1]

In the first of four articles, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai shares his impressions of the Moscow he knew from a decade ago. He notes that in bleak and cold surroundings, facing an autocratic regime, a nation’s people found a way to survive. And whether it was against Napoleon or Hitler, the heavens always stood on the side of lumbering Russia as it waited out its opponents.
Plain porridge with pickled lettuce is enough for a hearty breakfast. (iStock)

Pickled vegetables, fermented beancurd and stinky egg: An art historian's love of preserved foods

Ensconced in Dapu village in Chishang, a Hakka enclave where air-drying is a common way to preserve food, art historian Chiang Hsun muses about the ways that Chinese and others around the world have ingeniously learnt how to preserve food for long periods of time from methods ranging from pickling to salt-curing and air-drying. In food preservation as in life, time builds character and patience often yields rewards.
A general view of Flushing in New York, US, a vibrant Asian enclave. (SPH Media)

Cultural historian: Worth the train ride to Flushing, Queens for tasty jujube pastry

Never did cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai think that he would find the most authentic and delicious jujube pastry of his dreams in Flushing, Queens of New York City. How the suburb has changed in the last 40 years, transforming into somewhat of a Chinese food haven.
A Malay family on the banks of the Kallang River, 1900s. They were mainly farmers.

[Photo story] When tropical Singapore was ‘too potent to be conquered’

Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao gives a glimpse into how he started collecting old photographs, and why collecting historical photos of Singapore is a passion for him. One of his most prized finds is a photo album that used to belong to a Japanese soldier posted to Singapore and Southeast Asia. He shares some of these photographs here.