Had a small adventure this week on Pagoda Street in Chinatown. I needed something to wear for a quasi-fancy performance at the American Club - a gig with the American Women's Association Choir here in Singapore. Normally, I'd just grab a black pair of pants and a black blouse, but these gals tend to dress to the nines for events like this, so I figured I better make an effort. I was thinking about something simple - a long Chinese-style dress with a mandarin collar and short sleeves. So I headed to Chinatown, wandered around a bit, worked up my courage and walked into a shop called, "Silk of the Orient". The owner and head tailor's is Feroz Akbar and he's apparently been in the business for 30 years. We discussed what I wanted, surrounded by colorful silks, wools, cashmere, a large cutting table and accompanied by the soundtrack of a mesmerizing Moslem prayer recording. I selected a gorgeous black Shantung silk, Mr. Akbar's assistant measured me and we were off and running. The whole transaction lasted not more than 10 minutes. It was ready two days later, so I returned to Pagoda Street, tried on the dress (it's beautiful) and could barely sit in it, let alone imagine playing the piano in it. That Chinese style, after all, is meant to be slim-fitting. But, not to worry - they let out the seams a bit in the hip area, so I'm good to go.