Sunday, June 19, 2022

Pink Dot: Celebrating Pride and Love in Singapore

The queue did not start here. In fact, it started 20 minutes before here. But that is a good thing, because thousands of Singaporeans and Permanent Residents like us went to Pink Dot!
We happily waited 40 minutes to get in.
Singapore is not much of a protesting country, but we were at Speaker's Corner, for what was both a celebration of love, and an official protest!
Officially, we are protesting Section 377a of Penal Code 1871, which prohibits sex between consenting men. For context, Canada repealed a similar law in 1969.To make it official, we sent the above picture and note to our Member of Parliament.
We were certainly not the only ones!
Unofficially, we were also here to support the LGBT community, and groups who help in the challenges they face in their lives, including access to benefits, marriage, and housing.
Pink dot is named in reference to "The Little Red Dot", which is how Singapore is often portrayed in maps, given we're small.
The mascot is Pinkie, shown here along with some fabulously dressed ladies in the 30 degree heat! Oh, and Barry. You can show your support locally with a Pinkie pin.
Barry and I were fairly fabulous with our masks, rainbows, and accessories, but next year I'll be getting these rainbow tights! Happy Pride Month, and here's hoping for more freedom to love!

Monday, June 13, 2022

Beachliness Part 3: East Coast Park, Singapore

Well, the LiS Beachliness score has caused some controversy. Some reader(s) want a measure of beach access ease, while others (ok, it was the same one), demands the inclusion of Pasir Ris Beach, Singapore. The comments are duly noted.
So, welcome to East Coast Park, which has Singapore's longest beach, at ~7.5km. Like most of our coastline, it is made from reclaimed land. Also, Luka wants you to know that it's highly accessible by public transport, and less crowded during the weekdays. So, how's the sandliness?
Well, there's sand, but this is more of a picnic in the grass kind of beach. And the sand has boaty floaty bits and lumps. So unfortunately, sandliness: 0Boatiness, on the other hand, remains very high; this is a port island. While it's higher than Sentosa, the boatiness is very pretty. So again, half points for excess boatiness.
Boatiness is surprisingly hard to photograph: these ships look a lot bigger in real life.
East Coast is a practical beach of walking, sports, and eating. not as much about pristine beauty. Also, note that it was a cloudy day vs. Sentosa's sunny one.
So, kinda pretty? While we have palm trees, big trees, and the occasional coconut, prettiness is only half points.
The readership suggested that the Laura in Singapore measure of desertedness should consider how interesting people watching is. This is a valid point, but I'm unable to provide an objective, relative measure of humanity while skirting bias. For example, what to think of the beach monk? 
So, enjoy seeing people camping a East Coast (mainly on weekends), but we still have no points for desertedness.
Or, avoid the campers and go to the non-camping spots, where the signs make jokes.
The next measure is wildlife. We saw a fairly unworthy turtle. Wildlife: 0.
Let's talk activities! East coast has gottem: restaurants, cafes, local food, playgrounds, cricket, softball, volleyball, camping, cycling, rental watersports, fishing, rental rollerblades and family cycle thingies, and lotsastuff! After all, it's a 185 hectare park (Source Wiki - yet unconfirmed, given construction and erosion). So full points.

Cable-pulled wakeboarding lake? It's got beginner and crashy-hurt levels.
Fishing, and also fishing jokes (guy fishing behind no fishing sign).
The final measure is availability of cocktails: 1. While cocktails are not widespread, they are certainly available. And the food availability is so broad that I have to give full cocktail points. So in conclusion: 

Sandiness: 0
Boatiness: 0.5 (excess boatiness)
Prettiness: 0.5
Destertedness: 0
Wildlife: 0
Availability of activities: 1
Availability of cocktails: 1
Total: 3/7

Monday, May 30, 2022

Beachliness Part 2: Sentosa Singapore

Having established the increasingly popular Laura in Singapore Beachliness scale, it's time to use it on our local beaches. Singapore is not known for its amazing beaches compared to the rest of this region, but Sentosa beach (Siloso, Palawan and Tanjong) has some key redeeming features, so let's see.
First up, sandiness. Pretty good sandiness, but there are minor issues with ship detritus and less than pristine water. So half points.
Secondly, boatiness. Singapore's beaches have an excess of boatiness, which is interesting for ship nerds, but reduces one's view of a pretty horizon. Again. we'll go with half points.
Prettiness: the palms are very pretty and the coves and islands are nice too. The main beach is only 3.5 km long, but I think I still need to give full pretty points.
Desertedness. Sentosa ain't desolate. The pictures here are misleading, in that it was quite early morning, and in May (not tourist winter). No points for desertedness.
Wildlife. Well, we saw an eagle. But unless you count tourists, again, nope.
Did you say fun activities? Sentosa has them all: zip-lining, aqua park, bungee, luge, cycling, hiking, history, VR, iFly, volleyball, and much more. Full points.
Finally, cocktails. Sentosa says she's got'em all overdaplace. Full points again.

Sentosa Singapore Beachliness Review
Sandiness: 0.5
Boatiness: 0.5 (excess boatiness)
Prettiness: 1
Destertedness: 0
Wildlife: 0
Availability of activities: 1
Availability of cocktails: 1
Total: 4/7

Beachliness Part 1: Jervis Bay Straya

My critics have brought to my attention that Laura in Singapore does not provide enough coverage of beaches. This is not surprising, as we're not really big beach people. But I do aim to please!
Upon extensive consideration, I am hereby launching the Laura in Singapore 7-point Beachliness scale!
We were repeatedly educated, mostly by strangers, on the whiteness of the Straya beaches near us, particularly Hyams beach (pronunciation varies: Strayans seem less sure of this). Here is a pamphlet for colour reference.
Apparently, white sand is good, but I'm uncomfortable that this seems unfair to brown or darker-skinned sand. I was a bigger fan of this multi-coloured mosaic of shell sand. See what I did there?
The second point on the LiS Beachliness scale is boatiness. Here, you can see an extensive view, along with a navy boat. Reasonable boatiness.
Here, however, we saw a real actual submarine. This is clearly full boatiness points.
We hiked longerfars to see a very old boat.
This beach was cold for Strayaland, but shipwrecks get bonus boatiness points. No one was harmed in the making of this shipwreck, which is the S.S. Merimbulla from 1909, built in Scotland.
The third measure is prettiness. While clearly a subjective measure, I'm the only judge. Here is a good one.
The fourth measure is desertedness; people are not desirable on a beach. Bonus points for completely difficult to reach.
The fifth measure is wildlife, which is a more core LiS value. Straya had a few good rockpool creatures.
The sixth measure is the availability of activities, which can include anything from hunting for treasure, to sportliness. For Straya, I will count rock-hopping and dolphin watching, especially since we saw dolphins twice. Struggled a bit with sun protection, mind you.
The seventh and final beachliness measure is availability of cocktails. Here is where Straya's beaches fell short. Yes, I realize some measures can be paradoxical, like many things in life. No cocktails here:
Jervis Bay Straya Beachliness Review
Sandiness: 1
Boatiness: 1.5 (submarine/shipwreck bonus)
Prettiness: 1
Destertedness: 1
Wildlife: 1
Availability of activities: 1
Availability of cocktails: 0
Total: 6.5/7

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Straya Foods

In Straya, we went to Pelican land.
Strayans think pelicans are boring, but they're actually really cool, and we saw one turn it's flappy beak-pouch inside out while preening.
The pelicans showed us the way to the oysters, fresh from the oyster farm. They were so good that we went back for more. There were escapee oysters all over the beach, which does not make for good swimming.
We tasted the wines, which is always a bit silly, since obviously they taste good, being wines. We also tasted the Ethiopian food. And by tasted, I mean ate it all before breathing, since we love it so.
In the land of Straya, there are no Quakers, so the oats were made by multiple uncles called Toby.
At first, I was concerned with this image of one of the Uncle Tobys, but I realized it was just his spouse helping him to sober up and pull himself together before marketing the oats.
Of course, you can eat the 'Roo, but it's gamey, so you don't really want to.
Then we explored the land of Strayan candy. The secret of the Caramilk is that it has an imposter! Clearly inferior to the real Caramilk. (Turns out there are actually 3 separate bars for 3 different countries, and that Cadbury is uncreative on names or cheap on trademarks.
Here are the more interesting local delicacies. Violet crumble is neither violet nor particularly crumbly. The Curlywurly is a half sized chocolate bar sold for the same price, the Chokito involves a suspicious amount of puffed rice, and the Caramello Koala is just what you give whiny children.
Looking for sexism and the glorification of the crime underworld in your candy? Try Big boss candy sticks. Minimal flavour and bad fashion.
The re-emergence of nerds is both surprising and delightful. Wait, that sounded sarcastic, yet I'm very serious about nerds. Delicious.

I'm less enthused about Wallaby poo bites.
And the worst candy in Strayaland was Yoghurty. Even the mascot isn't worried you'll want to eat these things.