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Thursday, January 08, 2009

My heart goes lah lah lah lah lah!!!

Howdy folks?!
Happy New Year to you all!
Been a long time since I've done any sort of concrete posting and by the looks of, that status is going to continue for a bit more :D Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut!! I have so much else to talk about!! So here's another 'Here's what's been happening' type post.
I'm back in London btw... had a fantastic holiday... except I fell sick while I was at home and wasted an entire week... did not meet friends (but that's mostly how I wanted it, sue me)... and... and and and!! (in case the title hasn't already given you a clue)

I WENT TO SINGAPORE!!!!
WHOOPIEDOOPYDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

It was fabulous!!! JUST what I needed!!! I was there with the folks for an entire week and in the words of the brother, we did only three things there: Travel in the MRTs, stand in queues and walk.
Yes yes, shopping and sightseeing happened of course... and experimenting with food! I'm still so ecstatic about the whole trip (and it seems unbelievable that I was there only last week... walking its streets and dressing up in summer wear, sweating in the afternoons... oh Singapore! You were the stuff dream vacations are made of!) I'm finding it hard to be coherent about the trip and excitement is bubbling over. I'll try though.

I'm not going to describe the sights... grab Lonely Planet if you want that. :P I'm not yet in a state to describe what I thought of what i saw either... so what I will do is sum up the best bits of S'pore as etched in my mind.

The very first impression that we got of the place was of how greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen it is!! And how orderly!! That the green-ness struck us is saying something given we live in the Garden City... but we drunk it all in anyway... was a welcome sight for parched eyes I think. And the orderliness!! Good lord!! Not a speck of dirt to be seen! Everyone's following road rules, the apartment buildings and forestland and parks and industrial area have been well-planned out and stand so neatly in their allotted places! And hardly any people to be seen at first!

The weather reminded me of Bombay, the transport system brought back memories of London... and yet... this was a whole new universe! Suddenly I found myself thinking how crowded and noisy and polluted London seemed. And our fascination and amazement at Singapore continued for as long as we were there.

Then of course, there were the people, the languages... the things that make a city itself. We saw a whole lot of oriental-looking people of course (and true to human nature, where anything unfamiliar gets clubbed into being one same-looking thing, we thought they all looked the same), and a whole many of the stereotyped south indian looking population. And their clothes!!! The South Indian looking population did not venture beyond shirts and trousers and the women seemed to stick to salwar kameezes... but the orientals and the mod population! As a family friend said "Yeh log sirf chaddi baniyan pehente hain! Ghar ke liye ek chaddi baniyan aur bahar jaane ke liye ek aur. Koi acche kapde pehenta hi nahi idhar!" And honestly.. to me it looked like no one wanted to dress up! No make-up, o fancy clothes... everyone wandered out in shorts and tees... the only time I saw people dolled up was on New Year's Eve... then too that might have been to do with the location we were in.

Language in S'pore is like Bambaiyya I guess. It's a mish-mash of everything. They have stations named in (I think) Chinese and also very English names such as Somerset and devon... and... even a Dhoby Ghaut! (Although they pronounce it like the firangs do :D). And we were taken aback to hear announcements in Tamil and signboards in Tamil... and later found out that it's an official language there. Thanks to the Chettiar who braved Singapore in the early days. And then there is Singlish! What little I saw of it kept me bemused (if not in splits)... it ignores grammar to such an extent that occasionally you wonder if the language evolved and you missed a memo or something. The use of 'lah', of course, is the staple. And as I remakred, it didn't seem any different from being in Banglore or Mysore where guys go 'Yaak la? en la?' ... or even up in (what is to us South Indians and geographically-challenged people like me) North... people using 'la' as a general form of address. Oh yeah I bought a tee that says 'How to use the Lah'...one of my favourite things from there :D

And if I had to pick the most perfect time we had there, it would be the day spent at Sentosa... the Dolphin show made me tear up a little, the view from the Merlion took my breath away, the 15 minute simulator ride was a ride full of screams and the half-hour that we spent walking to the beach, getting soaked in the sudden shower, witnessing a newly-married couple having their wedding photos done while it rained and the sight of the beach with its little tenements, palm trees, vast stretches of sand and sky everywhere was sublime!!!

And I met Mahi and Gem!!! Mahi was sweet enough to meet up on the evening of my birthday and had reserved a table for us at this wonderful Mexican in Clarke Quay. And it was truly unbelievable to be sitting across her, sipping Margheritas and chit-chatting as if meeting up was an everyday thing for us! I really enjoyed her company and am very grateful for having had the chance to finally meet her after three years of online friendship :) Thanks a ton Mahi!

Then there was Gem. Gem is my best friend from high school. The very first guy I began talking to when I had come out of my pre-teenage "boys! hmpfh!" funk and gotten into the "oh my god! boys!"stage :D Gem (no he's not really named that... I am calling him that coz I have said he's a gem of a person right since the day I met him) was sweet enough to hang out with the brother and I taking us shopping and patiently standing by while I acted like all girls do. It's funny... but Gem and I haven't ever had a chance to spend this much time together. Usually it amounted to the odd afternoon that we'd hang out for when I visited home during holidays... and then with other people around us. And yet, here we are years later, still thick and at ease with each other inspite of never actually having kept up regular correspondence or bothering to really know the other person. New Year's Eve was a ton of fun since he, the bhai and I were together... we went clubbing at Clarke Quay (that was out hang out mostly)... and when gem and I tired of the smoky stuffy club we wandered out and spent an enjoyable hour or so hanging out with some friends of his we happened to bump into, sitting on the steps by the canal and ribbing each other mercilessly. A very good night that was :)

My only regret is that I couldn't meet M.

And finally, presenting the funniest moment of my Singapore stay. Gem, bro and I were on Orachard Rd, shopping on New Year's Eve. As it neared evening, being still undecided about what we'd do to bring in the New Year we finally decided on stocking up as a contingency plan, to sit by the canal and watch what fireworks we could. So the brother went off to find Peach Schnapps while Gem and I stood vella. It prompted me to narrate this to him:

There's a lady walking down a tree-lined road and she comes across a duck completely covered in shit. She's repulsed and puzzled, but proceeds to clean it up and lets it go. She walks on and finds another duck that's covered in shit. She's a wee bit irritated now but still cleans it up and sets it free. And walks on. Only to find another shit-covered duck in her path a few minutes later. Thoroughly pissed-off by now, she cleans this one and walks on. She has walked only a few steps when she hears a voice from behind a tree.
"Lady, do you have any tissues on you?" it asks
"Oh I'm sorry but I finished all the ones I had" she says
And the voice says "Damn! I'm going to have to find another duck!"

While gem was laughing, the bro comes back and says 'They have got NO SHIT over there!'.
Gem and I collapse with laughter and only just manage to say in strangled voices "Yeah they've used it all on the ducks!"

12 comments:

  1. You know you're crazy right?

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  2. lol
    Sounds good!
    I felt the same way when I went to Singa a few years ago. *sigh

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  3. Galadriel: tee hee! I do :D You know you love it :P But what part of the narrative prompted this reaction, pray?

    Loca: haha!! It was good!! I'm sure it's changed somewhat since your visit... but man... I'm so in love with the place that I could seriously consider moving there.

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  4. Your S'pore trip sounds so super cool la...almost lived it with ya. ;-)

    And the duck joke was shit funny! no pun ;) LOL!!!!

    Girl, you MUST read this book by Niel Humphreys about S'pore called "Notes from an Even Smaller Island".

    It's entertaining as hell..especially if you have been in the Island :D

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  5. Anonymous6:32 AM

    nice post dear!
    btw.. who u cheeetinn?? LOL

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  6. sigh! took me back to the carefree days I spent there... can identify with most of the stuff u've said... their way of using 'lah' in every sentence is truly comical!
    I have to disagree on the dressing-up bit though... you gotta see those ladies on work days in the MRTs - in an amazing array of skirts and tops/ shirts with a touch of make-up that goes wonderfully well with their flawless skin and the men too - in impeccable business formals
    looks like you had loads of fun! :)
    Happy new year to you!

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  7. AHK: It was la! :D Thanks for the book recommendation... I was looking for something on those lines :)

    Gem: Your maaaaathheerrr!!! :P You crazy chap! Thanks for everything, you're a sweetheart!

    Anu: Heyyy good to see you here!! It just struck me that the whole clothes thing might have been because we never really travelled during the office hours there... we mostly saw students or home-makers or vella people like us... I guess the corporate scene is always smart in any city :)

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  8. niiiccceee!!!
    now i want photos.
    go home, woman!

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  9. Awesome Blossom Dew! Seems like a wonderful trip!!

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  10. must say the shit story had me in splits!
    is it an original? ;)

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  11. Rayshma: Okay okay will send photus!

    Never Mind!: It was la!

    Anna Bond: :D Glad it made you laugh! I've been carrying that koe around for years now... but the last bit of conversation was wholly original... we firmly believe in timing :D

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  12. lol, last part had me lol'd, literally!

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