Home > cheese, theatre > Cheese, Shakespeare, Determinism, Free Will

Cheese, Shakespeare, Determinism, Free Will

February 7, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Am always happy to play the purveyor of cheese to parties, though i wish the consumption of wine would be proportional to the dwindle-rate of fermented milk.

Where to buy cheese in Singapore? This is where the party cheese platter can get filled:

Cheese counter, Culina, Dempsey HillCulina (Blk 8, #01-13 Dempsey Hill) has a cheese counter at its store. Counter-staff didn’t have requisite knowledge to make cheese talk but allowed sampling.

Walk-in cheese section, Jones the Grocer, Dempsey HillAcross the road, Jones the Grocer (Blk 9, #01-12 Dempsey Hill) has a whole walk-in cheese room (a fantasy come true if this was my own larder!) containing more than just Australian cheese, quince, dried cherries and figs. The fromager was able to give recommendations and samples, but wasn’t about to help open the sliding door even if you had an armful of cheese.

Advertised as Singapore’s first artisan cheese shop, La Fromagerie (facebook)(#01-64, Blk 43 Jln Merah Saga, Chip Bee Gardens, Holland Village) remains the only stand-alone fromagerie i know of in Singapore. Slightly less dear for French cheeses would be Le Benaton and Carrefour.

The Cellar Door (#01-108/109 VivoCity, 1 Harbour Front Walk) carries some hard-to-find New Zealand cheese. Not as conducive to grocery shopping as when it was a few doors down from Culina’s old place along Bukit Timah Road.

ThreeSixty Market Place, ION Orchard Shopping MallA decent range can also be found at some Cold Storage outlets and their more upmarket siblings, Jason’s Market Place (#B1-01 Raffles City Shopping Centre, 252 North Bridge Rd) and ThreeSixty Market Place (ION Orchard).

For cheese for cooking and baking:

Cheese platter on straw matFrom bottom left: Comte Jura Au Lait from Culina, Fromager Daffinois and Brie Gippsland from Jones the Grocer, muscatel, Brie de Melun, Brie de Meaux, Mimolette from Culina

I have great fondness for cheese, not least because it was the presence of a hunk of Scottish cheddar (and some oat cakes) that prevented me from first starving then freezing to death atop Ben Nevis (having foolishly ascended with nothing but thin t-shirt and jeans, canvas shoes).

In an expedition of a different sort, was most amused to find two of us guiding a professed Shakespeare fan, for several hours, through the forests of predestination and free choice and God’s sovereignty. Now I know little about old Bill’s works (the fan was appalled that i lamented about having been forced to do Macbeth in school), but enough to observe to his fan that her concepts of fatalism and free will were very Shakespearean – possibly derived from her reading of Macbeth, Richard III etc (by way of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, and Seneca the Stoic, no doubt).

Sadly (for my frivolous chatter quota for the day), she didn’t take the opening. It would have been fun to discuss the possibility of Shakespeare’s (Renaissance) humanism (cf. Michel de Montaigne), though not quite helpful for the answers she sought. Anyway, POI about Shakespearean “fate” and “free will”:

Macbeth
– three witches’ prophecies set into motion the events that bring about their fulfilment
– point of interest: J.K. Rowling uses a similar plot device (?) in her Harry Potter series

Julius Caesar
– “beware the Ides of March” and other portents

Richard III
– “free will” in face of “determinism”?

Hamlet
– “to be, or not to be” speech: “being” = life and action, and “not being” = death and inaction? existentialism?
Tom Stoppard‘s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead – determinism par excellence?

Romeo & Juliet
– “star-crossed lovers” never stood a chance against the stars for a happily ever after?

But in any case, the conclusion would have been that it would be erroneous to expect Shakespeare, and indeed all authors of plays, to present anything more than their then-current understanding of the world; they are not visionaries given special powers of understanding the truth about the world; while they might be more perceptive in observation and creative in expression than others, we should not expect what we understand to be the author’s intent (already the subject of some uncertainty), even if expressly didactic, to be ultimate truth. Surely that can only come from God who created all things and his ordained channels of revelation.

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