New pastures →
I was going to write a teary good bye post to Singapore, but there’s only so much procrastination a blog can take. Head over to fatponies where I will be continuing my surreal trip through SE Asia.
Big Sister is watching you
Anne Yeo is our building manager. Her office is in the second basement of the condo. It’s a small, windowless room, a few steps away from the fluorescent lights of the car park. It’s more like an interrogation room really: a small, mean desk, two clinical chairs, and one small station for fingerprinting. Yes, fingerprinting. Every door in my condo is controlled by a small fingerprint...
My hotel is just across the road from a Pizza Hut. It’s not the usual one, with its eye assaulting orange colour scheme and its slightly tragic guitar player at the breakfast buffet. This is a slightly more local hotel, buried even deeper in the bowels of Jakarta. “I’m sorry, I’m not Indonesian”, I say to the check in girls. There are three of them, in brown...
Far below, the water stretches out as far as the eye can see. It’s grey and yellow and perfectly still, like a piece of thin silk held taught beneath the sun. I see fishing villages floating on the water, red blue and brown wooden roofs, boats like toys abandoned in the distance. It takes me a while to realise the bushes dotted across the water are actually trees, half submerged by the...
Read Greg's adventures in Jakarta →
A couple of weeks ago I forced myself to do some knitting for the revival of the world’s stupidest range of handcrafted goods. The needles slotted comfortably in my hands, the wool wrapped naturally around my fingers, and the rhythmic movements, stab, wrap, pull, came back thoughtlessly. I’ve missed doing things with my hands. They’ve been idle since I moved to Singapore, a land...
Last Tuesday was Singapore’s National Day. Clearly, I have my finger on the pulse of this tiny nation. Sadly I have been too busy looking at tiny coloured boxes on endless spreadsheets, muttering to myself, and generally wanting to stab my eyes out with a rusty spoon to write something about this colourful, intensely Singaporean event. Come! Read Singapore Noodle! Where all news are a week...
Scenes from CGK
A woman strides past, tall and slender, her body neatly wrapped in long folds of soft cloth. Her face is solemn and focused, framed by a stark scarf. She takes long, deliberate steps. Behind her a small desiccated figure struggles to keep up. A garland of embroidered leaves slashes the severity of her blacks. She flashes some ankle, a lot of ankle, as she hobbles past. A man with a luxuriant...
The man from the National Environment Agency
The little man standing outside the service entrance is waving a laminated, dog-eared ID card at me. I can’t quite understand what he’s saying, nor have I really ever gotten over my embarrassment of finding Singlish impossible to understand. The words “check” and “come in” emerge from a jumble of atrophied vowels and forgotten syllables. I look over at my...
10 Things I love about Singapore
I am back in Singapore after a month in Indonesia, and decidedly grumpy about it. Singapore and I have not exactly been getting on since I landed 7 months ago. It’s not exactly a burning hatred, more a daily, grating annoyance. It reminds me of that girl everyone knows at school, the vaguely irritating, vapid one who makes people roll their eyes, and who you have to be nice to because...
I’m standing in Carrefour and making a jabbing upwards motion with my finger. The tiny aisle assistant looks at me, bemused. I narrow my eyes, racking my brain for a way to explain what I want. This could be any Carrefour in the world, really. It looks eerily similar to the one near my mother’s in Aix, or even the one in Singapore I go to for my fix of St Félicien and “Reflets...
We dominated that crab.– My flatmate David possibly referring to the good company at Jumbo, possibly referring to himself and his tapeworm.
I’m in Jakarta for work for the next few weeks. The city is loud and busy, a constant stream of highways and cars and motorcycles. We sit in silence in the car, my colleague still chewing on today’s latest problems, the driver slowly, wearily pushing his way through the traffic. Something catches my eye through the tinted glass, movement on the dirty grass between the two sides of...
Last night was Durian night again. It’s become a regular thing. We egg each other on for days until one of us cracks, turning up at the flat with a carefully wrapped box of stinking fruit. Usually we wait for 8pm at Takashimaya, when the vendors give us hefty discounts on unsold boxes of Mountain King or D24. Around the table there’s a mixture of excitement, unbridled gluttony,...
The Mexican Ambassador
“Does anyone fancy going to Chingay?” asked the email. “There’s a few of us from work going to look at fireworks, fighting dragons and 2000 energy charged hip hop youths (!!!!!). It’s a little cheesy, but should be fun”. Little did I know I would be dragged to a parade ground at the end of the universe, and made to sit in a crowded stand, waving a sparkly red...
The French like their wine. I can tell from the sparkle in your eyes and the...– Singapore taxi driver. Eh?
I don’t like to chew gum, it’s too much work.– Colleague
It's your life. It's your fight.
“HOLY CRAP WHAT THE SHIT?” I was not expecting to see this on my way to work this morning. “There will be no comfort. i am here to disrupt”, says the giant vampire-mosquito-bat with blatant disregard for the finer subtleties of capitalization and socially acceptable behaviour. It is perched high and menacingly above this charming little fellow: “If there is a...