If you are unfamiliar with the term, as I was before my departure, a hawkers center is sort of like a large, outdoor food court. But different. The food is all local and in Singapore that means predominately Chinese, Indian and Thai and incredibly inexpensive. Most food stalls are specialized - preparing just a few main dishes around a central theme.
My first foray into the hawker's center was an assault on my senses - really like everywhere in Chinatown you can not walk a few steps without smelling something delicious cooking. But the energy, the overwhelming choices and the heat all aided to my awe.
M.I.A. calls Justin Bieber's video 'an assault to my eyes and senses'
Image Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic.com; Robin Wong/PR Photos“I find the new Justin Bieber video more violent and more of an assault to my eyes and senses than what I’ve made,” says M.I.A. in the latest issue of U.K. weekly magazine NME. Opting not to explain her recent “Born Free” video, in which redheaded citizens of a desert nation are slaughtered, M.I.A. called Bieber’s clips “more offensive” than her controversial offering.
Istanbul: an assault on the senses
On one of our first few days in Istanbul, on one hot afternoon, we made our way through a very tightly packed street market. We bumped and shoved through narrow streets lined with endless vendor stalls. The ground was wet and dirty. I just wanted to make it out and have some space again. Being crammed into a large body of people feels suffocating.
At one point, D turned around and said “Can you smell that Turkish coffee?” It’s become such an instinct now that I didn’t even realize I was holding my nose (yeah it’s an odd defense mechanism against yucky market smells). I let it out and breathed in deeply. Like, really breathed in. Immediately, the intense aroma of freshly ground coffee beans rushed in. It smelled delicious.
As we continued our way through the market, I eagerly took in all the smells… the smells of sewage, cigarette smoke, and car fumes, but also the smells of spices that I can’t even identify, raw fish, and grilled meats. Everything was so individually distinct, and yet perfectly weaved together to create an intoxicating ambiance.