Hello, Singapore! | 01-080516

A First. After watching the beautiful and curiously relevant Brooklyn (though, hopefully other factors than romantic love can make you feel at home in a new place), as soon as I board the Singapore Airlines plane, I fall asleep across my own seat and the conveniently empty seats next to me and sleep for 8 hours straight. Super scared of flying and generally bad at sleeping while being transported, I’ve never previously even as much as yawned lightly, let alone dozed off, on any flight, long or short haul. I take it as a sign that I’ve got this: moving to a new continent — calmer and more collected than ever before! Waking up just in time for dinner-time breakfast, salmon with spinach, fruit and water on the side, served by the sarong kebaya-clad flight attendants, I watch two episodes of the 5th season of Game of Thrones while purchasing and spending 15gb on social media, just because it would be a shame not to, and flipping through a creased issue of last month’s British Vogue. Before my system even begins to consider feeling a bit restless, we land in Changi.

Arriving at the world’s calmest, coolest, and most efficient airport is such a treat. I walk past lush palm trees and bright art exhibitions, and then straight through immigration, without queuing at all, simultaneously with my new flatmate, Tine, who slides through one of the adjacent automated passport lanes (she’s back from a business trip to Manila) and gives me a big hug when we meet on the other side, first time in person. By the time we get to the baggage carousels, our suitcases are ready to go; someone kindly took them off the belt and placed them on a cart. In the taxi, Tine tells me most things I need to know about the pretty sights we pass and the hip area we’re headed towards.

Hello, Tiong Bahru. Tine’s boyfriend is standing ready at our front door to help with the baggage, and the flat is as neat as it seemed in my Skype viewing a few months ago. High-ceilinged, white-walled and spacious, with beautiful wooden floors, a lovely white kitchen, a clean and modern bathroom, nice furniture, plants all over, and french doors leading from the two bedrooms out onto a  balcony. In the kitchen, there’s a big calendar giving an overview of birthdays (including mine! So thoughtful!) and travel plans (there are several – they’re in Bali next weekend, and Manila a few weeks after, then London, and Australia most of June… that’s Singapore, I guess?). While he is cooking a lovely green curry with black rice, she shows me around one of the oldest housing estates in Singapore, which I immediately fell in love with on my first trip to the tropical island back in November of last year: the visually very pleasing soft-curved, white art deco blocks with the red-lined flat rooftops, rounded windows, slim palm trees and lush plants in the streets, little bright red and golden religious decorations, lanterns and half-burnt sticks of red incense in red metal holders hanging on walls and from windows, the many indie coffee and book shops, boutiques and galleries, the rich cultural mix of a 1920s Monkey God Temple and a French organic deli being just across the street from each other, an old kopitiam noodle shop sharing it’s quarters with a fancy yakitori spot, red lights of the Korean bbq joints contrasting with the blue art deco street number plaques  and sophisticated young hipsters from all over the world chilling in wooden chairs outside the bakery and club while native families in washed-out T-shirts are eating local dishes around round marble- or plastic-topped tables outside their homes and corner cafes. (Yes, I’ve virtually moved to the clean and well-kept Eastern version of East London, without chicken bones and chewing gum covering the pavements!)

Perfect escapism. We get a bottle of wine in the ever so trendy P.S. Cafe Petit to enjoy with the tasty dinner in our lovely dining room. When the washing up is done, I go to my room with the intention of crying myself to sleep, but before any bleak homesickness sentiments get to really kick in, I hear the GoT soundtrack out in the living room and end up curling up in the sofa with my flatmates for the first episode of the sixth season. All the comfort, familiarity, and coldblooded killing keep my emotions in check. Right until I go to bed and Skype with my mum and a few friends, asking them to remind me, or even just plainly define, what exactly I’m doing here, not to mention with my life in general. One of them sends me a meditation audio file that finally manages to lull me into a deep, undisturbed sleep.

Bank Holiday. I step out into the boiling morning heat to get a cup of Australian coffee from Forty Hands while my flatmates are cooking a hearty breakfast of soft-boiled eggs, tomatoes mixed with basil and olive oil, avocado, yellow kiwi, Vegemite (he’s Australian) and fresh baguette from Tiong Bahru Bakery. Mmm. When we’re done, she takes me up to the Great World shopping centre to show me where to get a phone plan and do groceries. Kindly, she continues the stream of good advice and nice ideas. A particularly good one: with her boyfriend we spend most of our day off cooling down and doing lazy laps in their friends’ (Australian guy, Irish girl, cute baby) pool in River Valley. It’s great living in a bustling, multicultural community like Tiong Bahru, but you need condo-expat-friends with a pool, they say!

Wardrobe wonder. Back home I start unloading my suitcases. I recall crying during a similar exercise in London five years ago. Piling it all onto shelves in a different flat than the one I shared with my boyfriend at the time, whom I’d left back home, came to represent an almost unbearably concrete sign of what was going on. This time around I’m just super happy about the vast amount of wardrobe space – the huge white expanse is more than I’ve had at my disposal since I lived in my own flat in Copenhagen close to a decade ago. I arrange my possessions nicely (only brought a little bit; the rest is due to arrive on Saturday), and then do some yoga on the pink mat that was left on one of the shelves (my flatmate is a yoga teacher!).

Alone vs. lonely. As the evening progresses and I grow tired, a slight sense of homesickness comes creeping over me. I sob for a bit; then wrap my sheets around me in bed and take in a dose of guilty pleasure tv on my laptop. It’s my second night in town; it’s normal to feel a bit funny when you move somewhere new. I didn’t have to go, but it was an option, and I wanted to take it. The nagging feeling is not that I mind being on my own; I just miss my family and friends. Oh well, everyone is well and safe wherever they are. I don’t know a lot of people here, but that will come, and that was also what was so magical about the prospect of moving. I have time to explore on my own, stroll around for hours at my own flâneuse pace, read, write, leave some bad habits and routines behind, do what feels right, as based equally on my experience so far and on new inputs, slowly get to know foreign cultures and places. Never lonely as I have myself (funnily, the G-Eazy and Bebe Rexha track Me, Myself & I seems to be among this year’s most catchy summer tunes in Singapore as well as Europe!). Caring people who know me well are only a phone call away, and if I’m open to meeting new people, I’ll get to share my experiences with some of the nice ones that are certain to exist here. My flatmate texts me from the adjacent bedroom to emphasise that she and her boyfriend will take good care of me — and good luck tomorrow — ‘just go with the flow and say yes to everything here in the beginning.’ I fall asleep with these thoughts: in the morning I’ll jog to work along the river, shower at the gym, get an açaí bowl for breakfast from that little stall on Raffles Place that I went to in November, and then it’s all about work, which isn’t foreign at all: I know and like what I’m doing, the office and my colleagues.

First morning run. Even at 7am, I get so steamy hot from jogging along the river that 4k feels like a half marathon; surprisingly satisfying. I go from River Valley to Clarke Quay to downtown. The Singapore branch of Fitness First is as far from the dark, dank, dodgy Tottenham Court Road branch as can be: all shiny glass and steel, with a panorama view of the bay area from its lush palm-lined outdoor infinity pool. The ice-cold rainforest shower is successful at driving out the excess blood from my face.

Welcome. No time for the açaí bowl. I hurry down towards the office, along the Chinese breakfast places on Market Street. Stop for a moment on Cecil Street before turning down Cross Street, look up at the impressive architecture with wild amounts of greenery hanging in manicured garlands from the glass facades, call one of my best friends (who’s currently driving through LA, where she runs an ice cream parlour, on her way to the airport to go on a flight home to Denmark), for a bit of encouragement, then read and reply to a text from a friend from Copenhagen, whose boyfriend knows a couple here in town that they promise to put me in touch with. Put my phone back in my bag, walk the last few steps to the office building, take the lift up to the 26th floor and enter the playfully, colourfully decorated office with the bright, modern, young and friendly atmosphere similar to the one I know from the London and Boston offices. There’s a Welcome, Camilla note on my desk, from which there’s a splendid view directly of the Marina Bay Sands and a tall building with lush, toxic green mega plants growing from balconies along the length of all of the 40 or so floors. Standing beside my desk are the director and another colleague, both visiting from Boston this week, who give me a warm hug and ask about my transition. I say it went pretty smoothly, and they laugh lovingly, ‘Only you can say that about a transition that huge.’ This concerns me — should I be more worried? Well, maybe it hasn’t exactly been smooth — I have cried a bit over the past few days — but whenever I feel positive, incredibly grateful, super lucky, and very privileged, as I do now, I want to nurture that sentiment. I open my laptop, which recognises the wifi immediately, and go to get a cup of freshly ground coffee, a can of chilled green tea that I loved the last time I was here and some freshly sliced dragonfruit, pineapple, and papaya from the kitchen. While I’m there, I introduce myself to a Singaporean girl seated in that area, who’s a friend of my Russian friend from London, who lived here for two years but then relocated to Copenhagen with her Danish husband last autumn. The girl lights up in a smile at the mentioning of my friend’s name, shakes my hand, and gives me her number so we can arrange to do something together.

Angel. My Korean team mate sitting next to me tells me how much she loves London. She used to study there, at City University — ‘do you know Angel?’ she asks. Suddenly my entire body fills up with a pang of longing for chilled autumn walks in Islington, with a cup of coffee in one hand, a close friend by my side, and the pale sun light shining down on us and all of the pretty shops, cafes, and terraced houses. Do I know Angel! Hah! I’ll be backI’ll have experiences here that will be atmospheric and memorable as well. Focus on work and the refreshing green tea for now.

Expat treats. For lunch on the first day, I do not go to any of all the nearby hawker halls or Asian food squares, but opt for a pricey Western premium ingredient option: sheared tuna and raw vegetables with quinoa from Grain Traders that I eat at my desk. Right now, I just want something that’s not deep-fried or soaked in sauce. For afternoon snacks, I seem to have the company-provided packs of freshly cut exotic fruits and bottles of unsweetened super fruit juice to myself; the chocolate bars, crisps and artificially sweetened soft drinks are in much higher popular demand. After work, I get my favourite sandwich and favourite freshly pressed vegetable juice from a newly opened branch of a Danish cafe on Raffles Place, which I enjoy sitting on the steps leading down to the water in Boat Quay. There’s a nice atmosphere of city folks and tourists hanging out in the mild evening air and light. Dessert menu: watching people as I walk slowly home along the water, preparing mentally for a 8pm-midnight conference call.

Morning routine tai chi. As I jog along the river on Wednesday morning, the elderly Chinese guys standing along it, with their zen music sounding from a wireless speaker, aren’t only doing tai chi like I saw them do yesterday, but also practicing fencing. Kids are watching them in awe. It’s so colourful along the river, with a bit of shade under the trees, going from Robertson Quay through to Clarke Quay, and ending up in Boat Quay by the financial district, where my gym is. Never has it been nicer coming into a gym before: so cold and peaceful. I even feel inspired to do some exercises before my shower. This is a great new morning routine: getting some ice cold water in the fridge before leaving the house, skipping down past the Chinese breakfasters in the pink plastic chairs outside the Traditional Charcoal Porridge restaurant on the other side of the road, following the scents of freshly baked bread and ground coffee to Tiong Bahru Bakery, making my way from my cute neighbourhood across the big roads to a big and fancy hotel entrance to the river, at a point where you’ve got Marina Bay Sands centrally in your vision until you follow the first turn on the path, going from the residential area to downtown, and ending up in the fitness freezer to freshen up before making my own porridge and coffee at the office.

Girls from all over. 7 hours ahead of London, I now have the pleasure of waking up to nice messages that my friends wrote in their evening. On Wednesday they’re thoughtfully asking how my first day went, and there’s also one from a friend’s friend who lives here, inviting me to join her and her visiting friend for drinks at Marina Bay Sands on Friday after work, celebrating that we both arrived. I was feeling a bit funny about the prospect of being alone on Friday night (my flatmates are leaving for Bali after work) so that’s nice! I then arrange to go for drinks next week with a British travel writer I met in November, who lives in my street — she’ll bring some other girls that I can meet. As I get into the office, the four girls in my team, all at my age and from Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam respectively, are excitedly arranging team dinner tonight with our director. We’re going to a Russian place on nearby Duxton Hill in Tanjong Pagar. Finally, to prove how small the (my) world is, a Singaporean journalist friend of my Russian friend messages me, ‘Hi Camilla — any friend of N’s is a friend of mine! I would definitely love to get together. Have you heard of Mikkeller beer? I’m a big fan of it (as I am most things Danish), and they’ve just opened a bar here. I know the owners well, as they import all sorts of unusual and great beer (another thing I love), and we’ll be starting up a local chapter of the Mikkeller Running Club very soon – you should join! I am running off to a meeting, but will dig into my calendar after and throw out some dates for getting together!’ When I meet her other friend in the kitchen, she says it was quite a ballsy move of my to go here, and I promise to tell her my story over drinks after work one day. Later, a third friend of my friend, Taiwanese, grew up in Australia, studied in the UK, works here as a consultant, suggests going for brunch or hiking next week.

Employment Pass. Fearing to waste a lot of valuable time, I bring along my laptop when I go to the MoM (Ministry of Manpower) down by the river to get my employment pass sorted. Not necessary at all: as with everything else in Singapore, this process is extremely quick and smooth. The calm and smiling officials call me up within seconds of my appointment time, and the formalities take less than 3 minutes to process. They’ll send the pass in a few days, and then I can stay working here for 2 years (and potentially renew it by then).

It’s All Coming Together. Walking through cute Tanjong Pagar after work with my colleagues to get to the Russian place, I spot the pretty little Mavrx Coffee Apothecary on Duxton Hill, which stocks beans from Allpress, my absolute favourite favourite (Kiwi) coffee. Seeing a sign featuring the well-known takeaway-cup hanging outside the hip spot, which, judging from the appearance, might as well have been a stylish interior design shop, feels very safe. Allpress in Redchurch Street, Shoreditch is where I had my last breakfast before leaving town. It was a beautiful sunny morning, last Saturday, and I went with three sweet friends. I know the world is bigger than cool coffee chains but it’s no shame to appreciate a bit of familiar quality.

Kl Coming Up! My brother is moving to Malaysia in August for an internship at the Danish embassy in KL. We talk on the phone — about trips to Langkawi and Borneo. First of all, I’ll go up one weekend to see where he lives. It’s so much fun to think about and look forward to. It will be his first time living abroad, and I’m as excited about it as I’m happy for him.

Stories. A friend sent me off with the short story collections, Singapore Noir and Far Eastern Tales. I read a few pages just before and after every sleep, and look forward to having more time at the weekend. That exciting, romantic sense of getting to know a place through stories, whether you’re dreaming of going, just vacationing or actually living there! The best thing in the world when I was a child and teenager, sailing around among small islands, siting on the backseat of cars on motorways or relaxing at a hotel somewhere, was reading for hours, letting stories influence my comprehension of the places we were in or travelling to. Even more so when I moved to Copenhagen, wrote my master’s thesis on (walking the streets of) New York, and just came to London (before I became so busy with other things that I rarely took the time to read fiction; I won’t let that happen here). Various narratives and voices blending in with real experiences and interactions.

Monocle. So preoccupied with the sights and sounds along the river on Tuesday and Wednesday, it’s not until Thursday I think to bring my headphones on my morning run and listen to some news, Monocle’s Globalist, for the first time this week. Trump is the Republican presidential candidate, Germany is set to push for an EU army, and Burberry repositions itself for the US market. Not a huge amount of depth, but at least a comforting sense of a life brought to me ‘live’ from Midori House in London.

Working Hours. I’m 12 hours away from my manager in Boston, 7 hours away from my team in London, and an hour from folks we’re working with at the Tokyo office. My wonderful manager calls me at 11pm her time for our weekly 1:1 — she’s just put her sons to sleep so it’s perfect timing for her, she assures me. Tuesday evening and Wednesday evening I spend in bed with international calls on my laptop. I actually quite like it; it feels nice to have a purpose. I don’t have to speculate so much. Friday night I’m supposed to have a call as well, but I’m suddenly too exhausted and cancel it. It’s all right — I’ve been pretty present all of my first week. Over the next few weeks, we’ll have to see what makes most sense — working 9-6 on some days and 16-midnight other days, or just cutting a chunk of hours out in the afternoon. As long as stuff gets done, and I’m available online, it’s all quite flexible and I can work from home or other nice work spaces.

Seafarers. On Thursday evening, heading from China Town down towards the river, I walk past a Danish national treasure. A happy, healthy family of five with toned brown muscles and curly blonde hair. Three boys are circumnavigating the world in the family yacht, while their mum and dad fly out to visit now and then, helping them film the trip for a popular tv show. The grandad (not with them tonight) has crossed the seven seas several times in his time, and as a child I loved reading his novels about exotic adventures all over the world, this part of it in particular. Seeing his offspring here means I’m really on an adventure now!

Great World. At the end of my walk lies the Great World, where my (female) flatmate and I meet for a much-needed pedicure (the lady attending to my feet screams and waves her hands in front of her grimaced face at the sight of my many blisters), after which her boyfriend meets us at the Japanese restaurant in the centre for a big shared platter of sashimi, some edamame beans, generous helpings of green tea, and excited planning — from doing yoga in the botanical gardens next weekend to climbing an Indonesian volcano in August.

Rookie Mistake. When we get home, the cleaner has been there. She’s even made up our beds really nicely and done all of our laundry. Ignorantly, I had put my clean underwear in one basket in my wardrobe and all the used clothes in another one, not knowing that she washes everything that’s put in baskets. Now I have a lot of super clean underwear.

Roti Prata. When I get into the office on Friday morning, there’s a sickly fried aroma of  curry and banana hanging in the air. Our Indian breakfast cook is preparing roti prata for everyone in the break out area between the pantry and playroom. I get in line, although I’m pretty sure I’m not having any. Just curious. A sweet Singaporean girl standing next to me kindly introduces me to the phenomenon, fried dough pancakes with a curry dip, the Singaporean take on a traditional Pakistani/Indian dish. The girl recommends I try it with a fried egg inside. As an alternative to the fish, meat or veggie curry steaming in big pots next to where the guy is spinning around the bread in mid-air, you can have it with slices of fried banana, loads of sugar or coconut milk. Or just everything at once, it seems. Extremely rich, and very yummy, I’m sure.

Kimchi. Skipped the greasy flat bread and saved up my appetite for greasy pickled food at a small Korean place on China Square with my team. Lots of delicious fried chicken soaked in gochujang, crispy kimchi and tangy namul in small steel bowls, washed down with plenty of lime-infused barley water. Yum. 

Happy Friday. Every Friday around 4pm, the reception area turns into a lively bar with chilled wine and beer, all sorts of Asian snacks (mainly Korean chicken wings on today’s menu) and heaps of pizza. Music, cheering, and balloons, lots of balloons. My colleagues from all over the continent spill into the large conference room just off the reception, from where the view of the splendid town and early sunset is spectacular, and chat away in their various dialects and accents. I grab a small glass of Chardonnay, talk briefly to a few of the guys I’ve already worked with, and then return to my seat to finish off some work.

Peace of Mind and Infinity Pool. Walking the few hundred metres from the office to the Marina Bay Sands, I stop briefly on the wide Marina Boulevard and spin around to take in all the wonderful sights — the hotel ship, the sculptural science museum, all of the lights from the skyscrapers, their reflections in the bay water. Some girls are working out and couples are eating takeout and taking selfies on the boardwalk along the boulevard. Minutes later I look at it all from a different angle, from the colonial bungalow-style al fresco garden bar, Spago, 57 floors up in the air, just behind the incredible pool on one side of the ship’s deck, and with the dazzling display of lights from the Super trees in the Gardens by the Bay shining below us on the other side. Lounging in the comfortable garden furniture we sip our exotic flower garnished Peace of Minds, a Danish and a Swedish couple who work here, a visiting Danish girl, and I. They are all very nice and interesting people, and as keen on taking advantage of what life here has to offer as I. Don’t stay out very long tonight though — after the one cocktail and several litres of water, I’m ready for bed. At home I cancel my call and go to bed, wondering if jet lag finally caught up with me.

Tiong Bahru Day. I wake up feeling pretty happy. Home alone for the first time in ages, in a beautiful exotic home at that, and completely free to do what I want … or, I have to stick around close to the house most of the day as my baggage will arrive at some unspecified point but that’s just fine: looking forward to getting to know all the areas, parks, gardens, museums etc., I know I have plenty of time … I live here … so today I just want to chill in Tiong Bahru, go to the market, do some yoga, read in a shaded spot, peep into all of the trendy little shops and, eventually, unpack.

To Market, to Market. Even the market building in Tiong Bahru is cool — airy and charming. Wet market downstairs and hawker hall upstairs. All the fruits and vegetables imaginable, and all meat, fish and seafood lying out on ice, and all of the stalls along the wall with colourful knickknack, spices, jewellery, fabrics … everything. With a coffee from Tiong Bahru Bakery in one hand, I wander around and observe the shoppers and traders, and end up getting some fruit and a bunch of beautiful flowers from a guy who adds twice the amount of carnations on his own initiative and charges me next to nothing. Run into my British friends from across the street and chat for a bit, as you do, with your groceries, on a Saturday morning. Back home I enjoy the quiet and cool air of the flat — turn on a Monocle podcast, pour the remaining mouthfuls of coffee into a cup I got as a leaving present from some friends in London, arrange the flowers in an old spice jar, and peel the most flavourful dark orange Indian mango I’ve ever tasted.

Coffee. In the afternoon, the people from last night come visit — we drink iced coffee from romantic, light Whisk, and later from hip, red-painted Forty Hands, browse around the little shops (I get i ate tiong bahru at the popular Books Actually), exchange laughable tales of culture clashes experienced at work and talk longingly of Scandinavian summers and trips to Bali. When they leave to go on a night safari, I curl up in bed for the rest of the night with chilled coconut water and my books. The luggage never did arrive — it’s stuck in China until Tuesday apparently.

Chopsuey Cafe. Without the air-con on, my room works perfectly as a hot yoga studio. On Sunday morning I take advantage of that, before heading to the second friend blind date of the weekend, this time in the romantic garden of the PS. Cafe group’s beautiful Dempsey Hill glass palace. My date is a Singaporean girl, who is as sweet and knowledgeable about town as advertised by our mutual friend. We tuck into our freshly made omelettes stuffed with shredded braised duck leg smoked in an aromatic blend of tea and spices, served with homemade sourdough, sesame-soy mushrooms, grilled tomatoes with pesto and caramelised orange and scallion jam, while chatting away about our mutual love of yoga, food, and colonial gems like this place.

Afternoon Options. Now, should I spend the weekend at the ’70s-retro-inspired Tanjong Beach Club on the palm tree lined, pale yellow Sentosa beach, or maybe cycle along the East Coast Park, or take a bumboat to check out the jungle on Pulau Ubin, or go for a hike in the MacRitchie Reservoir Park, or visit the world of perpetual spring in the Gardens by the Bay?

Wifi. I end up sipping two iced long blacks and writing the hours away at concrete-floored, glass-walled, grey-painted Flock Café in Tiong Bahru (the only place with wifi on weekends, it seems) while watching hip, casually-dressed local Singaporeans and Europeans come and go and listening to the various British accents blend in with the soft Singlish.

Chinatown. As the coffee shop gets really busy around 4pm, I walk down to the Chinatown Heritage Centre, where the vibrant past of the area shows in the restored shophouses and recreated street scenes, with dark stories of overcrowding, violence, opium houses, gambling dens, and brothels highlighting the seedy underground lives of the early residents, and nicer stories of how in the 1950s and 1960s the area became the heart of the city, with tasty dim sum cooking before daybreak, lively street markets in the day and all-night cabaret shows. Really interesting and well-curated little museum! Continuing on via a pretty little green on Telok Ayer (here the first residents were Malay fisher families living in kelongs, wooden huts built on stilts over the water, and when the British came in 1819, Chinese immigrants began inhabiting the area, with their trading houses, emporiums and temples, a buzzing activity that’s in pretty stark contrast to the current deserted Sunday feel of downtown, I imagine), I head towards the esplanade in front of the Fullerton Hotel to get a view of the bay and lie down for a while to read on a bench among the tourists in Merlion Park.

Better Than Fine. My parents are sending lovely pictures from their house in Spain, and judging from all the barbecue, ice cream, and rosé shots on social media, spring has finally found its way to London and Copenhagen, where everyone really understands to appreciate and take advantage of sunny days. With all of the places I could be though, I still feel quite all right here. I always made the most of my time in all those places so I’ve got nothing to regret and I’ll be back. Now I’m here.

Learnings of the week: The modern city state is more than a strict, humourless, polished, and affluent microcosm of a Southeast Asian Disneyland with death penalty — beyond the chewing gum fines, caning, cute pagodas-style shopfronts, and shiny high rises there’s a lot of quirkiness and culture. // Cars only live till they’re 10 years old — then they get squeezed into little packages and sent off to sea. For the environment, they say. // There’s an egg auntie and an egg uncle at the Tiong Bahru Market: everyone favours either her or him; I’m still to pick my preference. // Buddhists have an annual festival to honour the hungry ancestor ghosts, where food and drinks are put out in the streets over night to satisfy the needs of the ghosts. // A bottle of decent wine is at least 50 bucks. // Put Singaporeans on a conveyer belt, or escalators, or anything that’s moving, and they’ll stop, stand still, and simply take advantage of the ride. If something else is efficient for you, why waste any energy?

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