Report from Tomorrow - Vol 46
1USD = S$1.67 (S$1 = 0.59USD)
Zai Jian Singapura
We've been here some twenty months now and like any place, there are things we like and some things we don't. Despite some negatives there is no way we would not repeat this adventure. The point of living abroad is the for the experiences - bad as well as good, learning and relearning that while our differences hold many surprises, people are not that different, regardless where they live.
We Won't Mind Missing...
This has been our first time living in a large city, something we've always wanted to do. Perhaps we've spent too much time in small town America, but frankly, large cities are the pits. Every weekend the shopping areas are packed like Thanksgiving weekend. In many ways S'pore must be one of the best run big cities in the world, but anyway you look at it, it just has waaaay too many people. I'm glad for the experience of living with 3+ million people, but now I won't mind returning to someplace with fewer people.
I've never been a fan of hot, humid weather and not too surprisingly, after over 600 days of 85-95 degree days, I still do not like it. The first three months here I thought my clothes would mildew permanently, but it did improve. Our trip to New Zealand was a strong reminder that you can both wear clothes and not sweat, something I often forget here.
I'm really weary of undersized furniture. At first, seats (bus, toilette, furniture) that are 3 inches too low was novel, not anymore.
We're now in the middle of organizing our exit and the lack of service here continues to be irritating. If you have an extra 30 minutes and want to raise Mary's blood pressure, ask her how long it takes to cash a travelers check at my bank. Every ANG MO (westerner) can relate a dozen stories of phones unanswered, clueless sales people, etc.
Working Saturdays is the pits! I worked lots of Saturdays from home in the past, but somehow a 5.5 work week has been very draining. The last two months here I managed to finagle Saturdays off and within a couple of weeks my energy level was way up.
What Will We Do Without...
The diversity of S'pore has been wonderful. We've had the chance to learn so much about the local Chinese, Indian and Malay cultures. Here we have all the "strangeness" of living in several different lands at the same time without the need for travel or the problem of language.
S'pore has been a great base to see the rest of Asia. It's western enough to be comfortable, but near enough we can go to places all over southeast Asia with ease.
Singapore works - not something you can say about many places in Asia. It's beauracy is astonishingly efficient and honest. When I had some hassle with my last work permit, everyone, locals as well as ex-pats, was amazed it was messed it up. The city is clean and safe (ask any white woman how safe she feels here). The public transportation system is unquestionably the best in the world - easy, plentiful, and cheap.
There's no question the part we've enjoyed the most about S'pore has been the food. The variety has been extraordinary. We've found some things we'll not order again and lots we order at most every opportunity. The local "Tjao Sin Eating House" down the road from us is a favorite. It's an outdoor restaurant rather lacking in ambiance. Their English isn't so great and the menus have no prices, but, my oh my, the food is just wonderful.
A Chinese proverb says "It is better to travel a hundred miles than read a scroll 100 miles long." This will be your last mile on this scroll, so to speak, as this is our last Report From Tomorrow. When this all started, I had no idea it would become be anything like the tome it turned into. Some of you have written to express your appreciation and for that I thank you.
At various times I thought I should go back and correct or enhance various topics, but I've decided to leave things as they were originally written - a snapshot in time of S'pore and us. The entire collection of Reports, including pictures, is available on my web site.