We live on the sunny islands of Singapore, home to people from all over the world who moved here 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and even 200 years ago. Of course there were people here before everyone started coming, but not that many (around 150), given that Singapore wasn't exactly the most attractive land to occupy given the hundreds of better islands in the region. But even then, over 1,000 years ago, evidence shows that maritime trade along our shores was robust before the Europeans ever came, reaching as far as China in the east and Iran and Iraq in the west.
BIRTH AS A TRADING PORT
Fast forward some 800 years into the Year 1819 and men from England had caught on to our wonderful goods and robust maritime trade and wanted to establish an alternative trading port to the Dutch controlled one in Malacca. To get people to use Singapore's far inferior (in fact, no facilities whatsoever) port, Sir Stamford Raffles decided to make it "free" to use. And what sounds sweeter to a merchant's ears than "free" and so people started coming in the hundreds and then in the thousands.
But who was going to pay for all the work needed to run a port? William Farquhar figured it out way before this 21st Century marketing age. He did a "Freemium" model and everything else kind of fell into place given everyone who was arriving was some form of entrepreneur or maverick and started setting up shops, building housing, clearing forest growth for agriculture. Amazingly, two hundred and one years later (2020), the island is still a bustling trading port and is still welcoming ships and their people and goods from all over the world.
EHRM, WHAT IS THE POINT OF ALL THIS HISTORY?
All this history is just the long way of saying that Singapore's roots and legacy is indeed very fortunate for us. For while there may be no real agriculture here anymore, there are literally tons of ships with container loads of goods that do call port at our shores. Most of the stuff they carry doesn't stay in our small market, but we do get our share of the amazing produce as the rest make their way somewhere else.
Another wonderful thing is we really do get a cornucopia of cultures braising in the heat of Singapore, touching and influencing each other. Some are hits (Pandan Infused Panna Cotta with Salted Gula Melaka), some are terrible misses (Buah Keluak Ice Cream), but all is good in the end because we're all so different someone is bound to like whatever fusion of goods you are making.
WHO ARE WE AGAIN?
We're a bunch of people from here and from all over the world. Some of us were born here, some of us were born there and some of us are wondering where to give birth. We put this funny little online shop together because we wanted to share our pictures and stories about this world of ours that has been fearfully and wonderfully made. And stories and pictures always, without fail, sound better and look better, with wine and we will use all to our advantage for your reading and drinking pleasure.