Go big or go home…

Archive for the ‘sights & sounds’ Category

I saw a woman on the MRT this morning clutching a thick Aran jumper.

Now, people do sometimes wear warmish clothes here – the occassional cardy, perhaps a hoody or a fashionable jacket. But really, cable-knit?

For what eventuality was this woman planning? A sudden hail storm; a deep-sea fishing trip? In either of those scenarios, she’d probably find her flip-flops somewhat lacking.

We're almost on the equator. It's unlikely to turn a bit nippy.

We're almost on the equator. It's unlikely to turn a bit nippy.

• Durian



I guess that should be sights, sounds and smells. This south Asian fruit is famous for smelling bad, to the extent that it’s banned on public transport and eaten at stalls rather than people’s homes.

Singapore SMRT sign

Singapore SMRT sign

I tried it for the first time yesterday and decided that it smells better than it tastes. The scent is one that I’ve long associated with Asia without being able to name, so perhaps for me it smells of holidays and exoticism.

The tasting was initiated by a Philipino colleague who assured me that durian is usually sweeter and generally nicer, so I guess I’ll give it another go. The texture was good – somewhere between thick custard and over-ripe avocado.

• Glory explosion!

On a lamp-post by Farrer Park MRT station

On a lamp-post by Farrer Park MRT station

I pass this sign on my way to work and it cracks me up daily. Will I ever grow up? I doubt it.

• A pregnant lady got on the MRT (tube) the other day and three people instantly jumped up to allow her to sit.

I have seen pregnant women get on in London and ride six or seven stops without anyone offering a seat. The standard response is for seated commuters to bury their heads deep into a newspaper, thereby excusing themselves as they “didn’t notice she was there”.

Whenever I saw this happen (for it was sadly common), I would spend the six or seven stops trying to decide whether I should intervene on the pregnant lady’s behalf. I never did.

• The banks here are retarded!

This country is supposed to be the financial jewel in Asia’s crown, but it really is the worst place I’ve banked (previous countries banked in: n=1).

My ATM and debit cards are separate entities (the second of which I had to apply for in writing), my savings account is managed with a passbook, and I had to go into a branch to get a device that allows me to bank online.

(Actually, that last bit’s unfair. The internet banking is really good, and the device is a random number generator that’s linked to my login, so it’s super-secure.)

Quick update on other stuff: Life is good, getting the keys to our flat in two day’s time, and starting work in a week and a half. More about the job to follow.

Also, I have permanent contact details now, so if you feel compelled to send me a parcel or make an expensive long-distance phone call, drop me a line and I’ll provide the means.

• A blind busker with a sign that read “I am sorry I cannot see you appreciating my kind music.”

• A cover story from Simply Her, Singapore’s Cosmo: Don’t fire your maid! Strategies to keep her happy and competent.


I read the article slack-jawed. Advice included:

Treat your maid as you would your children. Be patient and always set clear boundaries.


Don’t be rude or abrupt when you issue orders. Try always to say please and thank you.

WTF! I would never ask another human being (adult or child) to do something for me without trying to be polite. But J says clearly lots of people are rude, and at least the magazine is trying to do something about it.

The rest of it was dull as anything, party-line all the way. “How to be more productive in the office.” “How to budget better.” And LOTS of ads, mostly for skin whitening products.

• The nicest McDonald’s I’ve ever seen:

Orchard Road Maccy D's

Orchard Road Maccy D's

That’s all for now. Zai jian, hao peng you, happy Friday everyone!