Go big or go home…

Posts Tagged ‘fat

Bookends

Posted on: June 29, 2010

It was sixteen months ago. The first day of my shiny Singapore job. I chatted to the receptionist while I waited for HR, and smiled when she said her name was Rose. The receptionist at my London office was called Rose – maybe this was a good omen, perhaps I was meant to work here.

She asked the usual questions – where was I from, how long had I lived here? “Only a month,” I said, almost apologising. “Don’t worry,” she replied, laughing, joyful, “the hot weather will soon melt all that fat of you.”

Now it’s a year on. Tomorrow I leave this job. The coincidence of a shared name didn’t turn out to be that good an omen, but neither was it the worst. Everything teaches us something.

I go to say goodbye to Rose. She hugs me and says it’s always the nice ones who leave. Then she steps back and cocks her head, eyeing me critically. “You’ve lost weight. Whatever you’re doing it’s working.” I smile. Skinnier to start my new job. That must be a good omen. Right?

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My life in Singapore is very lazy and indulgent. I don’t think this is a bad thing – I have been blessed with just enough Protestant work ethic to hold down a job, and I suspect that secretly we all aspire to lazing about.

There are a few tangible side-effects. I think I’m more relaxed, because I’m mentally and physically engaged with fewer things. But I also know I’m more prosperous, as the locals would say. In other words, I’m getting fatter.

This is not intended as a reassurance-seeking feminine wail: “I’m so fat, I’m so ugly, why don’t I look like the girls in the magazine?” It’s just a statement, based on the fact that clothes that used to fit me are becoming a struggle to do up.

I was slightly surprised when I noticed this – my dress-size hasn’t really changed since the end of uni, despite a lifestyle that’s never been ascetic. Pondering this in bed last night – do I buy new clothes or diet, does this happen to everyone at 30 or is it my lifestyle? – it struck me how incredibly inactive I am now.

Or rather, how active I was in London, without even noticing it. The obvious difference was that I biked everywhere. Switching my commute from bike to train dropped 5 hours of exercise every week. Then there is the lack of yoga – no more morning classes is another 4 hours lost.

But I also cycled to all sorts of places besides work, or walked. I would often walk two or three tubes stops, which seems unthinkable in Singapore. The distance would be roughly the same, but I would turn up sweaty and red, having only saved about £2 on taxi fares.

I still do about the same amount of resistance and cardio – interestingly the gym-based stuff that requires most commitment and dedication. It is all the accidental or fun stuff that has slipped, with a deficit in hours per week that is easily in double figures.

Besides barriers like heat or cheap cabs, I think my lifestyles in different places have been internally modeled differently. In London I took a strange pride in being busy – always out of the house, seeing friends, thinking nothing of leaving for work at 0640 every morning.

In Singapore, I expect a life that’s languid. There is no reason I couldn’t go to yoga before work, except that it seems impossible. Instead I lounge around at home for two hours, writing navel-gazing blog posts about how fat I’m becoming.

And indeed, how fat this post is becoming. Who’d have thought I could write so much about being lazy, especially as I only started to test whether I could render hanzi? Incidentally, the title should say hen pang, or very fat.

Right, I’m off to eat pie. Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival to you all!

elle xx

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Today is our one month anniversary. We’re in our new flat but not online, so I’ve gone all the way to an internet café to mark the occasion (who knew internet cafés still existed! I thought poor people and backpackers would all have iPhones by now).

We haven’t seen much of the city yet – our time has been taken up with admin and housekeeping. On that front, our little home is making me very happy, even though there are no sockets for shavers and all the cupboards are too high or too low.

My favourite house things:

• The view, and how it changes through the day.

After dark it’s a mess of twinkling lights. Early in the morning there’s just haze, crystallising into city as the sun sharpens.

(Right now it’s raining, and the top of the CBD is lost in the clouds.)

• The big telly!

The TV itself (all 42 inches of it) is neither here nor there. J and I decided we weren’t going to get one, not realising they’re standard in furnished Singapore flats. So we’ve done the only sensible thing, and hooked the PC up to it. And *that*, as the kids say, is made of win.

• The ice tray.

Yup, really. The freezer has a built in ice tray; once the cubes are solid you twist a lever and they drop into a drawer below. Estimated ice cube capacity: 150 – all neatly stored in the pull-out bucket. This kind of organisation is going to take my martini mixing to dizzy new heights.

Food porn

Things I’ve tried:

• Carrot cake (ibid)

Takoyaki – octopus balls. For want of a better explanation, mini seafood toad-in-the-holes. Really good.

Rou gan – dried pork slices, a bit like biltong. Also really good.

Things I’ve not tried:

• Hotdog prata – wtf!

Pig organ soup. Ummm…

Other experiences

Medical exams; mandatory in order to secure gainful employ. I had mine today, and rocked up at the hospital with the tocsin of civil liberty sounding faintly but distinctly.

Neither my employer nor the hospital volunteered any information about what I would be tested for, but I asked a nurse and she said HIV, diabetes and kidney disease. Which doesn’t explain the chest x-ray, and begs the question, “What happens if anything comes up positive?”

The rest of the exam was basic: height, weight, b.p., except that the nurse giggled when she weighed me. And earlier today, the receptionist at my new agency said, “You’ll soon find the hot weather will melt all that fat off you,” while smiling benignly, as if she’d just told me she liked my shoes.

Fortunately I’m reasonably immune to stuff like that, although I had better get used to feeling Amazonian; a lot of SE Asian girls are teeny-tiny and very body-conscious.

Yours, hen pang Elle
xx

(57.2 kg in case you’re wondering. I think that’s bang on 9 st.)