Sunday, July 26, 2009

Our Neighbourhood, Little India

Little India is a great place to live for many reasons. On Sunday, the migrant Indian labourers get their weekly day off, so Little India gets quite crowded. This seems ok with the Indians, who are evidently quite close.
They participate in numerous activities such as talking to their loved ones at home, or buying smoked fruit:They gather in lovely neighbourhood parks such as these, where their heat tolerance is evidently quite high. While in normal circumstances a pure-male crowd this large might be alarming, here it is quite safe.
In contrast, I require cold fluids such as, perhaps, a coconut.
I recommend you do not offend the man with the knife (shown here with sugar cane grinder, another refreshing choice.)
Clearly, I am refreshed.
I'm not sure if you're supposed to, but I like to eat the young rubber coconut as well, like so.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Which Indonesia?

While Laura in Singapore avoids political commentary, her trip to West Papua, Indonesia, was cancelled this week due to security concerns. In light of recent events, I offer you some facts about Indonesia. First, its dimensions:
1) Population: 237 million, fourth largest country in the world. Big.
2) Width: 5000 km, a wide as Canada's non-maritime provinces. Chubby.
3) Religion: 86% Muslim (mostly moderate), with significant Christian and Hindu populations, the latter shown here going to temple.4) Democracy: Yes, but only since 1997.
5) Crime. How does Indonesia compare to your other potential vacation destinations?So, while this is Indonesia,so is this,and this.And many of Indonesia's 17508 islands look a lot like this.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Top Expat Challenges

Laura in Singapore enjoys being a foreigner/expat/immigrant, as most posts demonstrate. However, there are some universal challenges, not specific to Singapore, which potential future expats may not expect. To start, consider that many of your lovely possessions will either remain in storage or be rendered rather useless:You are likely to face new biological threats and vermin. How many Canadians know how to avoid boot mold, and the tiny bugs that eat the mold? Oh the tropical household ecosystem!Sometimes, you're just going to get stared at. An advantage is that your appreciation of your home cuisine grows. But this can lead to disappointment when things are just sometimes done wrong. This is my butterscotch parfait?
Similarly, we waited 2 years for Quiznos to come to Singapore, and when we finally went there, it was closed. Emotional roller coaster.Doing your taxes while you're out of the country? Nightmare. The Canadian Revenue Agency missed me so much that they kept writing me letters.Similarly, imagine the paperwork and time involved in immigrating here!Often, we just don't understand the jokes, the media, and especially the ads. Has this woman's "family heater" melted off her bosom?
Planes. May not be as fun as shown.
You just can't learn all the traditions and etiquette and try to make sense of it.
Family cooking. You gotta DIY, which is much harder than showing up with a bottle of wine.
It's hard to be subtle. Spot the expat in this picture.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ruins of Ancient Singapore

Singapore, not known for its ancient civilizations, was little more than a fishing village until the last couple of centuries. However, if you look hard enough, you can find strange old ruins of mysterious origin, inexplicably occupying prime real estate. Below, a mature home whose owners have clearly neglected landscaping and home-painting laws. Shown below are stairs to the past, found in the forest.
And finally, a mysterious site I found on my way to work and wondered what it could be.
It turns out it is an unkempt old Muslim graveyard, a couple of acres in size.
So, how old is this place? It dates back to 1819, making it just about the oldest thing you'll see here. As shown below, vegetation can accelerate decay, see how quickly this child's wagon became a tree. Don't leave your toys in the cemetery, kids.