5 Singapore stories you might have missed this weekend (Jul 11-13)

1. It’s been drama-whama galore since the National Library Board (NLB) removed three children’s books featuring alternative families from its shelves last week and then destroyed them. Yesterday, there was a peaceful protest involving 400 parents, children, artists and writers. The Let’s Read Together! event allowed participants access to two out of the three questioned books. Public opinion on whether the NLB did right still remains divided though, with more than 25,000 people signing a petition online to show their appreciation for the statutory board’s verdict. 

2. The annual Singapore Food Festival returns yet again. This time, there’s a local food trail at ION Orchard to sample signature Singaporean food and a food tour of Chinatown featuring Hainanese chicken rice balls and Hokkien rickshaw noodles. We’re especially excited about the Nyonya mobile truck, which brings Peranakan delights (almost) right to your doorstep. The festival runs until July 20.

3. We’re not sure if this is good news or bad news, but from now on, passengers on local airlines will be able to use electronic devices on take-off, landing and during the flight. While transmitting capacities still have to be turned off until the plane cruises and phone calls are banned as usual (thank god), all other phone functions seem good to go. Participating carriers include Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Tiger Airways, Scoot, Jetstar, Valuair, ST Aerospace and Singapore Airlines Cargo.

4. Hari Raya celebrations continue, and the Geylang Serai Ramadan bazaar kicks into full swing. Ending July 27, the event features 400 more stores than last year’s edition, including an eerie haunted house and a reflexology shop. There will be traditional snacks such as churros, Turkish pide and Thai coconut ice cream and modern, American county fare stuff like deep fried oreos.

5. With yet another move towards sustainability (check out past articles here and here), the government has recently announced plans to set up Singapore’s first Marine Park. Built on Sisters’ Island, the park will offer visitors guided tours and even diving sessions to raise awareness about native biodiversity. But don’t pack a picnic just yet– the park won’t be complete until 2015. Can’t wait that long? Here’s more info on what to do on some of Singapore’s offshore islands.