Thursday, September 18, 2008

singapore vignettes


standing in the wonderful max photo in centre point mall, to which i had returned to shop for a macro lens after buying my camera there last may. deeply authentic elderly chinese man at the next counter buying a very high end professional camera. he's got longish grey hair and on the very tip of his chin, a wispy little beard consisting of a handful of 6" long greyish-white wavy hairs. he turns to my nikkor 15-200mm lens, which we had just fitted back on my camera after i tried out several macro lenses (settled on a nikkor AF-S micro 60mm f/2.8G ED). he took a large magnifying lens out and held it up to the small print on my zoom lens. he looked carefully, made some clucking sounds, turned to me, gave me a thumbs up and said, "vely good." i was proud.

* * *
in a cab being taken to wheellock place. to make conversation, as we neared it and i saw the sign, i said, "oh, i've never been here before." the cab driver shook his head and began lecturing me about using the word "never." he said i should say, "haven't ever." saying the word "never" would apparently keep me from going to heaven when the time came. or so he said.
* * *

walking through the food court of a mall. passing places specializing in indian food. malaysian. korean. japanese. vietnamese. chinese. danish ice cream and pastries. food from myanmar. thai food. noodles only. pizza. chocolates. vegetarian. burgers. outback steakhouse. starbuck's.  literally anything you could possibly think of, including green tea donuts. singapore is a melting pot of food cultures. a food paradise. and yet they're all so tiny. but constantly snacking. i saw a guy eating bacon as he walked along.  just a little bacon snack.
* * *
a paradise of sparkling shoes
(i did get a couple of good ones after all)
* * *
getting in a cab and asking for the pan pacific. the one suntec one since there are apparently others. it's a mad cab driver who must have been new. his english was iffy at best and he began trying to explain that there were two ways to get there and asking which i wanted. i had no idea. one was the short way and one the long. i chose the short. then he started going on and on about ERP. still don't know if he thought i was selling software or what? he asked where i was from. i said i lived in denmark. he asked if that was near new zealand. i said, not so much.  he was going on and on about how he would show me the singapore fire. i was a little alarmed that he was going to take me to a fire, since i just wanted to go to my hotel. turned out he was talking about singapore's version of the london eye, which is called the singapore FLYER. he then went past the entrance to my hotel. i pointed this out. he was very apologetic and went around the block. only to pass the entrance AGAIN. another round around the block, him apologizing the whole way. i was in a good mood, so i just laughed. it was an absurd ride.
* * *
hoards of birds settle into the trees along orchard road at sunset. the air is alive with the din of bird chatter, but it's difficult to catch sight of them. creates the eery feeling of being in a hitchcock film.
* * *
elevator culture: hurry up and get in because as soon as the doors are opening, one of the locals is standing there, pressing the closing button and your chance will disappear quickly.
* * *
on CNN Asia: paid advertisement on the virtues of setting up your business in MICHIGAN. i think this is a sign of a world turning upsidedown. the balance is shifting and we are but witnesses.

2 comments:

tangobaby said...

Bacon snacks and sparkly shoes. That's pretty much enough for me right there. I guess I need to go to Singapore.

No, seriously. I love this post. It's so vely good!

Every little snapshot bit of it. Keep it coming sister. Before everyone there moves to Michigan!

xoxo

Stiletto said...

Hi! I'm back after a long hiatus from blogging. I almost forgot that I have one until a friend mentioned it. Love reading your post. BTW, I live in Malaysia, a neighboring country and I can immediately relate to your elevator culture. This particular trait is commonly seen in many locals and is been referred disparaging as "kiasu" - the fear of losing out.