Tuesday, January 4, 2011


If I believed in the theory of alternate universes, I would think that upon flying out of Brisbane, I had been sucked into a vortex and arrived not in Singapore, but in the Brisbane of an alternate universe.

 The similarities between my hometown and this South-East Asian sauna are frankly uncanny.

It’s the small things that slap me in the face with déjà vu. The water tastes the same, there are the same types of impulse purchases beside the supermarket checkouts, our cyclist/motorist relationships are identical, taxis play equally ear-assaulting pop tunes, the temperature is beautiful till it hits 11am, wicked cartoons play in before-school tv slots, and we have matching nobbly things on the ground for blind people at train stations.
More than this, Singapore is giving me all kinds of good vibes. There is a relaxing reality to the suburban areas which makes me feel at home. Stepping out of the CBD area, people wear bad clothes when they go grocery shopping and walk slowly if they don’t have a place they have to be. Teens hang out in groups where girls giggle and boys do dumb stuff, bus stops present me with equally pleasant strangers. 

Let us move to the list of funny things that are certainly not the same. 

Yesterday in the food court of the mall, I saw the round tables for Asian families were equipped with lazy suzan devices on which they can push round KFC buckets, potato and gravy, and the prerequisite 7up. The majority of people live in HD buildings (not high-definition, as I foolishly shouted out in front of its residents in the escalator, but housing development). These buildings have an average of 15 storeys, and exist within an ‘estate’ which is a wider group of about 30 or so blocks of HD, and share an extreme (and extremely lovely) sense of community. Their children share a number of estate playgrounds, and each estate has a mini not-so-secret loyalty to a certain grocery store. 

They hang their clothes between the levels of the HD with ingenious racks and bamboo poles.
Looking at the laundry makes me nervous, as you stare out the balcony and see peoples clothes hanging between the 15th storeys of neighboring buildings. Relationships are forged from laundry doer to laundry doer. Good pegs are like gods. Looking out across the housing landscape, there is a stark contrast between the grey of the government-built buildings and the bright, effervescent clothing worn by the occupants. (insert social commentary here)

Along with our shared kinds of white, brown, caster and icing sugar, Singapore residents have “red” sugar. I presumed that it would be a kind of higher-plane sugar. Some kind of supernatural source of energy and deliciousness, only found in foreign lands of sorcery and mystics. 
Unfortunately it is just normal white sugar, with a ridiculous amount of dye in it. Do not be fooled by its humble origins! It successfully completes the not-to-be-underestimated task of actually making Weet-Bix interesting.  

Their cruise ships have a complete course of put-put golf on the roof.  
 I know, I know. Supermegaawesome.

Underwater World Singapore has the requisite features of all good underwater worlds, next update. I’m off to dinner.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic blog. I want to see the Jelly fish. Imagine having a tank in your lounge room.
    Keep up the great doco. David At watch out . . .


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