Apologies for leaving you shuckling oysters alone on Sunday, Beansprouts – have been reading several financial regulation papers for the purposes of a course this week. On the way home in the train, I was reading some fascinating papers and articles, including one of a treatise of Singapore’s growth as an international financial centre, and how glorious the stories of decisions and ramshackled policies! I think propaganda works too well for me for I find the topic utterly engaging and one that grows on me.
Truth to tell when I was in high school, we were similarly inundated with a series of three books on Singapore’s history- and being quite of a dilettante sort, I took away all the sensationalist facts (in Sherlockian manner in being drawn to the debonair and corrupt) and was not the least fired up by the politics (It discouraged, I supposed, by the fact that we were to be tested on the books’ content in the course of three lengthy test papers).
But reading politics within the financial is like adding the right olive to a dry martini, and the issues mingle giving rise to all sorts of interesting issues underlying the most banal details like capital adequacy and disclosure requirements. The reading between the lines. It reminds me of D describing to me once about the rat race in a cheese maze and how some other naughty mouse was nibbling bits and pushing others and so the maze was changing every few seconds…but I digress.
The course itself is basic. There is nothing which we have not learnt before, beyond detailed points on IOSCO principles etc. which are not for the faint of heart. It is the thoughts which are sparked off from the course readings, and noting Singapore’s policy choices undertaken by the central bank (amidst the different credit/financial environments) which are worth some thought. I am not writing well enough of my thoughts but maybe it will be the subject of a more practically written article rather than in this arena. One day perhaps, I will share these stories with you Beansprouts, and I promise to make them interesting with plenty of curious analogies.
It is now mooncake season, and everywhere in the building I see people heaving bags of mooncakes. It seems that conversations can be started with the phrase “double yolks?” and one of my favourite scholar juniors bought a box for her boyfriend only to be chastised by her mother that “you only give mooncakes to your boyfriends’ household when you are married!” Don’t ask me of the relation, but in that sense mooncakes, if the statement bears any truth, now takes symbolic significance together with red eggs, double-head abalones and piglets.
I am not much of a mooncake person myself, though I used to love the red wine mooncakes that E’s mother used to make. Maybe it was a bias towards the wine, for I was at the period then of pinot noir cravings. A while back I rather liked the snow skin ice cream versions. But these are plaything mooncakes which are not at all like the haughty, authentic versions which profess to be yolkier than the other.
Perhaps I’ll share my other lantern festival memories another time, for they have just returned suddenly in my mind, and the aftertaste is an altogether wonderful feeling.