Creativity and New Ubin Seafood, Sin Ming Industrial Estate

New Ubin Seafood, Sin Ming Industrial Estate

New Ubin Seafood, Sin Ming Industrial EstateAn industrial estate is an unlikely venue for good food. But it’s been a pleasure eating at New Ubin Seafood Restaurant (facebook), with its mismatched plastic chairs and fairy lights and Christmas-Chinese New Year decorations, since returning to Singapore.

New Ubin Seafood, Sin Ming Industrial EstateAn impressive number of the items on the menu were a hit with everyone:

sous vide egg with chargrilled foie gras. New Ubin Seafood, Sin Ming Industrial Estatesous vide egg with truffle salt (?) and chargrilled foie gras – umami and textural excellence,

mee goreng. New Ubin Seafood, Sin Ming Industrial Estate“Old Punggol-style” mee goreng – al dente and moist with good wok hei that might bring back memories of those seafood shacks next to the sea,

Hong Kong Kai Lan. New Ubin Seafood, Sin Ming Industrial EstateHong Kong kai lan – done two ways,

U.S. beef steak with fried onions, wedges, fried rice. Medium-rare. New Ubin Seafood, Sin Ming Industrial Estate U.S. beef steak, with fried onions and wedges, medium-rare. New Ubin Seafood, Sin Ming Industrial EstateU.S. Black Angus beef steak, with fried onions and wedges, done medium-rare, accompanied by rice fried with beef drippings. Simple, yet delicious,

chilli crab. New Ubin Seafood, Sin Ming Industrial Estate butter garlic crab. New Ubin Seafood, Sin Ming Industrial Estatethe chilli and garlic-baked Sri Lankan crabs were alright but we didn’t come for those,

bamboo clams, New Ubin Seafood, Sin Ming Industrial Estatebamboo clams,

sambal chinchalok prawns with petai. New Ubin Seafood, Sin Ming Industrial Estatewhat a star: sambal chinchalok prawns with petai – so delicately-balanced between spicy and sour. E enthused about how well they went with the fried rice.

A delight to be back in Singapore with these people, groaning at R’s bad (good?) puns, celebrating the lovely M’s birthday, and to have a such great time exchanging stories about travels and coming to know Jesus that the time flew past and we were presented with the bill, which in Singapore resto terms meant they were closing up.

We’d also been chatting to one of the waiters about how his boss came up with the recipes for the dishes we liked.

“Oh you see, if you see Mr. Pang in the office sitting there, he’s not doing nothing you know. He’s thinking, [here, he put his fingers to his temple to mime thinking] coming up with new dishes.”

Not the sort of creativity you can taught in school…well, if even the assumption that creativity (however defined) can be taught is valid. Underlying presumption is that every person has innate creativity.

This brings to mind the sarcasm of Adrian Furnham in Managing People in a Downturn:

There is a general, evidence-free and quite preposterous assumption that everyone is creative, and that all teachers need to do is somehow encourage it.

Thus we have:

  • The arson school – which helps you set fire to your creativity.
  • The constipation school – which unblocks and enables you to express your innate creativity.
  • The liberation school – which sets you free from the shackles that imprison you.
  • The discovery school – which helps you find your inner creative being.
  • The Blue Peter School – which enhances creativity through fun and games with toilet rolls and washing up liquid bottles.

Creativity, like all other human attributes, is normally distributed: a few extremely creative people ad a roughly equal number, sadly, possessing little or none. Most lie in the middle of the continuum. Yes, you can teach creativity tricks and processes, but you won’t achieve much without talent…or motivation.

But perhaps Mr. Furnham is too pessimistic; perhaps it all depends on your definition of creativity, and the field in which you are being measured for such an aptitude.

New Ubin Seafood, Sin Ming Industrial Estate

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