Oh so pretty – Rainbow sprinkles Sugar Cookies by Mizah Rahman

What is the festive season without baking some sugar cookies?

Buttery soft sugar cookies decorated with rainbow sprinkles and topped with a simple swirl of vanilla frosting. And more sprinkles. Always more sprinkles. Because it makes me happy =) And who does not love cookies right? The cookies are  soft and chewy that will make anyone, of any age, smile ear to ear. 

Ingredients
3 cups of All Purpose flour 
1/2 tsp of Baking Powder
1/4 tsp of Salt
3/4 cup of Unsalted Butter at room temperature
1 cup of Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
Royal Icing
4 cups of Confectioner Sugar
3 Egg whites

Steps 

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, add the eggs and vanilla and continue to whisk for about 1 minute.
  2. Add the flour, salt and baking powder and mix it all in until its all combined. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for about an hour.
  3. Take the dough out of the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  4. Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/3 to 1/4 inch thick, cut out any design you like with your cookie cutter(s) and place them a couple inches apart on your lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges and allow them to cool completely.

To make the icing:

  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the egg whites and beat on medium speed until frothy. Decrease the speed to low and slowly add the sugar. Increase the speed to medium high and whisk for about 2 to 3 minutes or until he icing is smooth, shiny and thick.
  2. Place in a piping bag and decorate any kind of cookie.

Recipe By: Laura Vitale

2015 - Let's do this by Mizah Rahman

December is a time for reinvention. It’s a time to reflect back on the past year, express gratitude for the successes and failures, make changes and reemerge from our self-imposed cocoon rested and reinvigorated. It is a time for writing and reflecting.

2015 represent a new journey that I will be embarking on. While it is scary and daunting, it also brings new challenges, excitement,and possibilities. 2015 – I am ready, Let’s do this.  

Card design by Mizah Rahman. 

Izy’s Swedish Chocolate Cake by Mizah Rahman

Okay, this cake is too awesome.

I have to thank, Nabillah Jalal, who introduced me to this cake when we decided to do an all-out festive-baking day. Tray after tray of chocolate-scented goodies spills out of my small oven.

This wonderfully simple recipe is based from Izy Hossack, who is only 18 years old author of her cookbook Top with Cinnamon that is based on her amazing food blog of the same name. The experience of making and eating the cake might have got me to rethink those fuzzy, four-layered cake. There is no better indulgence on a cosy rainy weekend then a kitchen filled with festive scents and time spent with family. This cake is officially my go-to chocolate cake, because like cooking, should never be complicated.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup fluffed up flour
  • pinch of salt

Steps

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line (with parchment paper), grease and flour a 7-inch cake tin (or in my case a 5x8 loaf pan).

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 20-30 minutes - it should be set around the edges but still gooey in the middle.

Let the cake cool in its tin for about 20 minutes,and then run a blunt knife around the inside edge of the tin to loosen it. Turn out onto a wire rack, dust with icing sugar and serve warm.

Taken from Top with Cinnamon 

A christmas tradition by Adib Jalal

Christmas is more than a religious celebration. It is a time to embrace the act of being merry, the joy of giving, the energy of loving, and all of it regardless of race, language, religion and nationality. 

When my sister and I were younger and still staying with our parents, we decided that we shall embrace the spirit of Christmas and use it as a time to create happy moments for ourselves. We created our own little tradition around December such as finding time to watch Christmasy movies like Love Actually and having a cup of warm cup of Milo while the pouring monsoon rain mellows the world down. We even had a christmas tree for a couple of years just for the fun of it.

This year, a christmas tree wasn't part of the home decoration plans so I decided to build myself a little christmas tree to keep that tradition going. I hope you have a great Christmas too and here's a very mellow Christmas song for you to enjoy with the monsoon rain.

December reads: Lucky Peach, Kinfolk by Adib Jalal

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"Let's drop by Basheer and look around". A story that begins like that always end with me buying a magazine or two although to be honest, it hasn't happened as frequently lately. Last week, we left the shop with two food magazines of very different nature, the latest issue of Kinfolk and an oldish issue of Lucky Peach, specifically the Street Food Issue. 

Kinfolk Magazine is a magazine that has been a staple for the Adib & Mizah household since the very beginning. We're inspired by the simple values of communing around food, its photography and evocative writing, and sometimes, our own photos and words carry its influence. For this issue, Kinfolk sports a fresh new look. The cover now has a new design grid and where previous issues seem to follow an extremely rigid grid for its internal page, they now have a little bit more variation throughout, adding a touch of variety to the browsing experience. This issue also introduces a slightly expanded editorial scope with the magazine now positioning itself as a "slow lifestyle magazine". Also, gone are the "For One", "For Two" organization and instead new headers such as Community, Work, Home, Play and Food are present. I found this new Kinfolk very refreshing and timely too as the magazine was starting to feel a bit stale. I might just reconsider my subscription to the magazine!

If you've never seen or read Lucky Peach before then you're missing out on a very refreshing take on the food magazine genre. A little bit edgy, funny and more wordy than your regular "food & lifestyle" magazine, Lucky Peach introduces itself as "a quarterly journal of food & writing". First published by the great guys at McSweeney's but now, independently produced, Lucky Peach is almost a complete contrast to Kinfolk. The magazine bursts with energy. The graphics are almost always loud and its tone unapologetically enthusiastic and opinionated. This particular issue of Lucky Peach that we got our hands on goes all in with about street food, bringing us glimpses of the varieties of sausages in Thailand's street food landscape, Carritos in Argentina , Lucha-Doughnut in LA and more. 

Looks like we have a lot of stuff to read! We're barely halfway through the books that we got last month! Anyways, I think we have enough books and magazines to keep us company on our upcoming trip to Bandung and all the way till we hit 2015.

 

The sith shuttle by Adib Jalal

With the new lightsaber awakening the Force in many Star Wars fans, this week, I set out to make a little gift for the Dark Side. Coming in black with a touch of red, it's a light and swift attack vehicle for a Sith Lord to fight those pesky Rebellion fighters. The deadly front-mounted cannon should do it's job but if it doesn't, heavy caliber guns are at the disposal. Don't underestimate the power of the dark side.

Kueh Keria – Fried Sweet Potatoes aka Malay doughnut by Mizah Rahman

After making churros, Spanish doughnuts last week, it is time to give hommage to Kueh Keria - a doughnut made with sweet potatoes. It is often tossed in sugar syrup that crystallizes into a yummy, sweet glaze. One of my favourite Malay sweets and I remembered helping my grandmother making some when I was younger. It is usually eaten at any time during the day—in the morning during breakfast or late in the afternoon with tea. Yummm!

If you love doughnuts and sweet potatoes, this recipe is a must try! 

Ingredients
500g sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into small chunks (about 1 inch squares)
4 tbsps all purpose flour
4 1/2 tbsps tapioca flour
1/2 tsp salt
For Syrup:

6 tbsps sugar
3 tbsps water

Steps 

  1. Boil the sweet potatoes until tender. Remove from heat and peel the skin and mash the potatoes until fine.
  2. Add the flour a little at a time to the mashed potatoes and knead together to form a firm dough. Add salt. Add a little water if it is too dry. Roll the dough on a floured flat surface into a long roll about 5 cm in diameter. Cut the roll into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a round doughnut with a hole in the center.
  3. Heat oil in wok until hot and deep fry the doughnuts. Drain on paper towel and set aside.
  4. Put sugar and water in a pan to make a thick syrup. Add doughnuts to the pan to glaze them completely with the syrup, remove and let cool.

Recipe taken from All Recipe Asia and SmokyWok. 

The Projector by Adib Jalal

We'll be heading down to The Projector tomorrow at Golden Mile Tower and will be posting some photos of that in the future but for now, we hope you will lend your support to their crowdfunding effort. At various tiers, you might get your name on the pre-show Thank You slide, goodies designed by KULT, special signed DVD packs or even get your name immortalized in the seats. 

More details of the crowdfund effort at the Indiegogo website.

 

About The Projector

The Projector is a new independent cinema and creative platform that sets out to revive that special feeling of anticipation and enjoyment of going to the movies. Bringing together an exceptional programme of quality films, one-of-a-kind events, versatile spaces and an inviting cinema café,The Projector will provide a genuine alternative to the cineplex chains in Singapore. A creative partnership between Pocket Projects and FARM, The Projector is out to redefine today’s largely generic and commercialised cinema experience by focusing on what we believe truly matters.

Gimme some Churros! by Mizah Rahman

Churros – the sweet, crunchy and fabulous taste of a gastronomic experience – is one of my favourite snacks and is not so easy to find them in Singapore. Also known as a Spanish doughnut and typically eaten for breakfast, Churros is one of those things that we knew we had to give it shot at making them. Truth to be told, we actually once had attempted them way back, and it was an epic failure. It was quite hilariously actually – when we tried to fry the batter in hot oil, to our horror, the half cooked churros exploded. (like literally, ‘boom!’ and splatted out of the pot.) Anyway, a year later, after being a bit more experienced in the kitchen, we tried again. 

 

Churros with Chocolate Dipping

Ingredients:
1 cup of Water
1 cup of All Purpose Flour
3 Tbsp of Unsalted Butter
1 Tbsp of Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs
1 Tbsp of Granulated Sugar
½ tsp of Salt
1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
Canola Oil for frying
½ cup of Granulated Sugar for coating
1 Tsp of Ground Cinnamon

For the sauce

  • 200g bar dark chocolate, not too bitter, broken into chunks
  • 100ml double cream
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract, if you have some

For the cinnamon sugar

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Steps

1) In a large dutch oven, add enough canola oil to fill the pan about half way, heat it over medium heat to heat it to 375 degrees. You can also use a deep fryer for this.

2) In a large saucepan, add the water, butter, vegetable oil, 1 Tbsp of sugar, vanilla and salt, bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and add the flour, stirring constantly until the mixture turns into a ball, cook this mixture for about 1 minute. (Remember to constantly stir)

3) Add the dough into the bowl and add one egg a time and mixing well after each addition to make sure the egg is well combined. 

4) Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. 

5) Pipe 5 inch ropes into the hot oil (be very careful) and make sure you only cook a few at a time so you don’t bring down the temperature of the oil. Cook them for a few minutes on each side or until deeply golden brown.

6) Drain them on paper towels to remove excess oil and then dip them in the cinnamon sugar. Repeat with your remaining batter and serve right away!

Recipe By: Laura Vitale

 

Verdict: Easy to make. Some skill is needed to fry the churros, not as easy as it looks. 

 

Project Kitchen by Mizah Rahman

Project Kitchen is a personal journey to discovering the simple pleasures of cooking for my love ones. It is about good and simple food. Documenting my experiments in the kitchen – of successes and failures (they will be some of those!). The kitchen has been a creative space where I could explore the joys of cooking and baking, whether it is making a quick weekday breakfast for us or entertaining small gatherings in our home.  There is just something awesome about cooking for another human being, sharing a meal - cooking is participatory, and the meal ends with a satisfying sense of accomplishment. The hope is to continue family rituals and traditions of opening up one’s dining table and doing it with an open heart and a generous spirit.

Watching cooking tutorials on YouTube and stalking good looking food online from some of my favourite food bloggers is a guilty pleasure of mine. There is just something so enduring and amazing about good lighting, fresh foods and good looking cooking equipment. Here are my top 7 cooking inspirations: 

Entertaining with Beth 

Fifteen Spatulas

Laura in the Kitchen 

Joy the Baker

Local Milk 

Top with Cinnamon 

The Vanilla Bean Blog  

#weeklyLego by Adib Jalal

The idea is simple: one thing made out of lego each week.

It could be inspired by anything- an object, a world event, a word, or a dream. It could be a challenge such as freestyling within a time limit or with some rules set beforehand. It doesn't matter if it's large or small, ugly or aesthetically pleasing. The point here is to make like a child and not overthink it. 

Let's lego.

The Coffeeshop by Adib Jalal

The light streaming down from the skylight above lends an uplifting spirit to my morning cup of coffee. I am hunched over my device, like the 15 other people around me, everyone looking into their own personal windows to the world. She tapped on the glass surface of her phone and a faint smile breaks on her face. She then perched her glasses on her head to take a closer look at the screen and her smile widens. I reckon she must be looking at photographs of her grandchild who has grown up too fast. It felt like she was only born last week. Meanwhile, a riot is breaking, a story unfolding and the man beside me has a concerned look on his face as he scrolls through the disturbing images. Love and war exists in the same space like parallel universes.

As the queue for morning coffee snakes longer, the kitchen crew seems to be moving a bit faster. Their order calls are getting snappier and sharper. The murmurs from the customers start to get louder. The man with the luminous running shoes is having none of it, shutting it all out with the help of the white earbuds and checking out how many likes he has on his last shared link.

I hear English, Mandarin, its’ hybrids and in various accents. I consider the richness of language I’m hearing at the coffee shop today and ponder future sounds as new words are added to the vocabulary and new forms of communication emerge. I could write a blog post about that. A child cries after getting a smack from her mother and my thoughts are broken.

The smack and the shriek jolts everyone and heads lift with attention returning to the here and the now. I wondered if one of the customers considered taking a photograph of what was unfolding to post online. “Just saw a girl got smacked after throwing tantrum. I would have done exactly the same thing”, said an imaginary tweet from one of these people in the coffeshop. But he didn’t tweet that because that would be insensitive and he could be flamed for that. Normal transmission resumes. But not before the lady in office wear at the corner takes a photo of her breakfast and posts it on Instagram.

My thoughts drift back to where I started before fluttering to a quote by Lewis Mumford who said that “the city is above all else a theater of social action.” Indeed it is like witnessing an unfolding drama with each episode written on the fly. Except that there are multiple sub-plots happening off-camera that is only showing on private screens. I pull my thoughts back to the physicality of the space and realized that all this while, I haven’t noticed that the designer has picked the same shade of brown for the cushion to match the stained wood. Then I wondered if the designer had imagined this drama when he designed the space.

Restoring balance in a Fridge by Adib Jalal

Like opening a cupboard to a universe where a lion is a god and a mouse wields a sword, The Fridge Door is the portal through which a magical world exists - one where the laws of decay and flow of time is suspended. Food simply sits there, immobile, enjoying a prolonged right to live. Often bountiful, you may even discover the gift from a distant angel who have bestowed ready-to-consume food on you. There is also a legend that food will magically appear in between the seconds of opening and re-opening the door but that is an experience that still eludes me no matter how many times I try. However, not everything deserves to live in this Neverland for food. The worthiness of every unconsumed and semi-consumed food sitting on the shelves of that artificially-cooled universe deserves to be questioned and I, am the question. If I was in a covert intelligence group, they would probably call me "The Cleaner" - the man who will hunt down and finish off the food that have overstayed their welcome so that the sanctity and balance of The Fridge is maintained. I am the man they call in to commit fridge genocide.

With the ruling Minister of Kitchen (because we are a democracy), my Mrs, away for most of the month on a research trip, a window of opportunity to do some "cleaning" presented itself. I had time, but everything takes longer than it should be and I wanted to be thorough.

The Fridge Door was opened, the cool wind emanated from the depths of the Fridge and dissolved into the tropical air. The boundary between the two worlds disappeared.

I scanned each compartment, mentally made notes and planned a strategy for my attack. I sensed the trembling of their souls within their motionless self. I took them out of the fridge, one by one, and demanded to see their expiry papers.

"Good. Good. Still good. Oh look at this! You my friend, have expired. *Trash*", I said almost mechanically without emotion. The sorting has begun.

"You're fine, move along. You, nope. You right there, hold on." And at that moment, somewhere on earth, a little cabbage gulped.

"You are good before when? Yesterday?" *Visual examination* "You sure you are still ok? What is this brown thing I see over here? Well you're lucky I'm in a good mood today Sir so I'm going to cook you for lunch today. But you on the other hand...", as I shifted my attention to the single slice of moldy bread, "Your time is up. I'm here to put you where you belong."

This went on for a while with the three clear piles forming: "To Trash", "To consume in the next few days" and "To continue storing till a future time". New food discoveries were made and perishables tethering on the edge of their lifespan ended up as food to save them from their misery. Small portions were consumed expeditiously so as to make room for new additions and I could once again see the back of The Fridge.

As I cleared the last bit of the top chiller shelf, I felt a sense of calm wash over me. I felt a renewed consciousness for the finite time that every piece of food have and I wanted to ensure they are treated in the best possible way. Then, I looked at the trash and a little bit of guilt surfaced. If only I had consumed them earlier or I haven't bought them, they wouldn't be facing this fate. For a moment, it felt like there was a metaphor there somewhere but I can't seem to figure it out.

With a final glance to the now neatly organized universe of stored food, I shut the door behind me and the lights automatically turned itself off. The balance of The Fridge has been restored. It is time to go grocery shopping.

Flats-03 by Adib Jalal

This is a film about Singapore's public housing programme, told through a peek at the domestic experiences of three single women who are at different stages of their lives. That intersection between domesticity and architecture is something that I've always been interested in and I'm looking forward to seeing this documentary myself.

"...on the surface the film seems to be about singlehood, ageing, public housing and the female experience. But slowly, mesmerisingly , a more complex and interesting picture emerges." - John Lui, The Straits Times, Life Section, Friday, November 14, 2014

Directed by Lei Yuan Bin, the movie is also part of a research initiative by Dr Lilian Chee at the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore (NUS).It will have it's Singapore Premiere at the National Museum of Singapore on 8th December 2014 as part of the Singapore International Film 2014.

For more,  visit the official website and Facebook page

The builders of Singapore by Adib Jalal

Photo: Waiting for Lorry

Photo: Waiting for Lorry

"Dreaming in Singapore, a Builder’s Perspective", is a project that documents the conversations that two guys have with various construction workers in Singapore while they wait for their transport back to their dormitories. Honest and self-conscious, these conversations surface the dreams and ideals of the Indian diaspora who often, suspend their own to help us build ours.

Stories of leaving families behind, being in debt with the belief that they can recover it all and have more by working here, remind me of the work that is being done at Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) and the ongoing documentation of Singapore Gurkhas by Zakaria Zainal and Chong Zi Laing, something which I once featured in a FIVEFOOTWAY Article.

Curious, I sent an email to the project email to find out more and learnt that the gentlemen who signs off as "Still, Waiting for lorry" are actually two Singaporean undergrads in their early 20s. Consciously choosing to remain anonymous (because there is no reason to not be), this project is unrelated to their studies but rather one that was driven by a social condition that they observed. 

They said,

"We have heard enough sad stories told about migrant workers. These stories have presented a homogeneous identity of the workers. We believe that there are more aspects to their lives in Singapore and we wish to uncover these stories through our project. Hopefully, the process of meeting these individuals, chatting with them and reflecting about it gives us a better idea of them by dispelling the preconceptions held by our society about migrant workers. "

Born over a plate of hokkien mee and beef horfun one night, this project shines a spotlight on the men who use their physical energy to literally build our cities, a fact that is easy to forget as buildings and roads just seem to sprout-on-demand in Singapore. I hope we never forget these guys during our SG50 celebrations.

The Design Society Conference 2014 by Adib Jalal

A shout out to friends at the TDS. The Conference is back for another year with the topic: "ORDER". We won't be able to go but if you have no plans, you should. Tickets available here

Speakers include: 

  • Benjy Choo, Creative Director of KILO
  • Hanson Ho, Creative Director of H55
  • Lee Hanyi & Mriz Sidah, Creative Directors of The Secret Little Agency (TSLA)
  • Naoko Takenouchi & Marc Webb, Founders of Takenouchi & Webb
  • Nathan Yong, Design Director of Grafunkt

Event Details

Promo discounts for bulk purchases and TDS Members available. Email info@thedesignsociety.org.sg for more information.

Pekeliling Flats by Adib Jalal

Documentary photographer Mahendran Bala relates a very human story about the homeless in KL, Malaysia, some of whom he found squatting in a development called, Pekeliling Flats. The flats which were previously known as the Tunku Abdul Rahman Flats were first constructed in the mid-60s, making it one of the earliest high-rise apartment buildings in KL.

Wihile the last of its flats was demolished earlier this year, the process of demolishing the Pekeliling Flats is expected to take until November 2015 and a redevelopment project to build a mixed commercial and residential area, as well as a hospital, is in the works.

Bala recalls his conversation with "Ah Heng":

"He sleeps on a piece of cardboard on a cupboard turned over on its side. He takes a nap each afternoon from 5pm to 7pm, after which he heads to the nearby Buddhist temple for a meal."

"He talks about his future plans for the place. A new door. A cover to keep the rain out."

I knew little about this block of flats until recently but from my google searches, it seems that the flats are strong in the memories of many Malaysians despite its infamous reputation as a place for the homeless, suicides and addicts. In fact, it was once a place where a vibrant multi-racial community once lived. Clearly, this was once a place, not just a space.

 Read Mahen Bala's post here. (via poskod.my)

November/December reads by Adib Jalal

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We've been on a book-buying spree recently. It must have been driven by the belief that there'll be time to read at the end of the year coupled with the positive motivation to improve and inspire myself that comes right about my birthday. Here's a quick introduction and links to these books and if you like them, all books are available at BooksActually

-A

Mindfulness and the Art of Urban Living - Written by a priest, a lecturer on Buddhism, Hinduism and astronomy, this book highlights things and ways to be mindful of despite the demands of hectic urban life. There are chapters that touch on Urban Gardens, Urban Culture and even Urban Problems such as Loneliness in the City. Chapters are short with various short passages inside and having read half of the book, I find that it is best to read one short passage and then walk away to contemplate on what you've just read and consider how you live your urban life.

Triumph of the city - This is a book by Edward Glaeser that advocates the amazingness of cities and why we should continue to build denser, higher, megacities. I've not read it yet but it's not hard to google around for an excerpt or an article that would quote ideas/statements from this book. Some even consider this book to be in the same category of Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida - the kind where many urbanists, innovators, politicians will quote as they make their case for building more cities.

Troublemaker - I've been a reader of Bertha Henson's blog, Bertha Harian and the now defunct Breakfast Network and was pleased to see a book featuring some of her best blog posts. Her commentary on Singapore's politics and society are often intelligent without making me feel stupid and I often leave each article questioning how and why Singapore ticks the way it does. Also, it is her articles from the GE that sparked my interest to research on urban governance in Singapore (PA vs Town Councils vs Active citizen participation). Great book to refresh yourself on what has happened in Singapore for the past years and prepare yourself for discussions in the GE that will come up in the next couple of years.

Underscore Magazine - Unless you've been living under a rock, you must know this award-winning publication by Hjgher. For this issue, they've rethought the whole thing and have come up with a lovely hard-cover publication and a "whenever-we-are-ready" publishing schedule. Perfect reading during the monsoon rain.

Yangon, a city up for grabs by Adib Jalal

 Featuring slightly longer and more in depth articles than Atlantic CitiesPlaces Journal is one of the smartest reads about cities that I've found so far.This article by Daniel Brook gives us a glimpse into Yangon, Myannmar, a city that I am learning more about everyday.

Having never been to the city, most of what I know is from articles and hearsay from friends who have friends attempting to doing business there. In this article, we hear about the ex-military man who is now leading the urban planning of the city, the involvement of the Japanese in advising and leading the way and the complicated political/military dynamics as Myanmar attempts a transition from dictatorship to democracy via a military government that struggles with legitimacy.  

Yangon is most definitely a city that can go either way now. Fortunately, it has many to look  for inspiration and support in dealing with issues like transport, dealing with heritage buildings, public spaces, safety, housing and everything else that comes along in the name of rapid political, economic change and urban change.

Still, Yangon has assets that other cities in the region didn’t have during their earlier development booms. It has a decent master plan for smarter development. It has wealthy Asian neighbors happy to invest in its future. It has the goodwill of the West, eager to aide its transition to democracy. It has considerable petroleum wealth that could be used to fund infrastructure and social investments. And it has, perhaps most crucially, an educated diaspora community returning to the country for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute

More goodness at the essay at Places Journal.

President Obama is confident of changes in Myanmar but you can wait for the change to happen or go visit the city to see it all for Myanmar/Yangon is the 'Destination of the year' for Travel & Leisure magazine with claims that "Besides being a land of spectacular landscapes and buildings, Myanmar boasts a fierce, proud, and kind population who will go to almost any lengths to make you feel welcome." Truly, this is one asian city that is up for grabs and looks like everyone wants a piece of it.