After spending such a busy period of socialising and gluttony, I have half a day of travelling around Singapore. Yani and I did the Singapore Flyer ferris wheel last year and I didn’t feel like going to the casino or doing other touristy things so we ended up having another pilgrimage to Orchard Road, like any good Indonesians would. I actually wanted to go to Kinokuniya as well, just to check whether I could find one or two books worth buying. I also wanted to buy some antiseptic solution that I can’t get in Adelaide that suits my skin very well, so I wanted to go to a larger Guardian store (Guardian is a chain of pharmacies in Singapore).
We stored our bags at the airport and kept the essentials before we took an MRT to the city. It’s clear that Singapore has continued to develop and changed its skin in the past year. New malls have propped up, the streets are busy, and the sad vacant sites left by the Global Financial Crisis, are now occupied by more shopping centres or development sites. It’s quite exciting to be in Singapore and to be in the thick of all of the actions where people of many nationalities seem to congregate and discuss major projects. It’s unlike the landscape back in Adelaide, in so many regards … That made me a wee bit reminiscent, and I thought that I could actually live and work back in Singapore.
Just as soon as I thought that, cracks appeared in my romantic-version of living in Singapore. When I went to Guardian and bought my antiseptic solution, one of the attendants saw me and said, while poking my right arm, “Yuwan to buy some body lotion, ah? For your scars?”. I abruptly said no and left her alone – only to be ambushed by another attendant in a different aisle who convinced me to put my shopping in a basket, although I could manage well without. She repeated the same mantra of me buying some skin lotion. If I were a rude and cursing person, I would’ve probably produced some colourful language that would make her blush. Instead, I just brushed her off and walked on.
The service culture still hasn’t changed really – while some give great pleasant and sincere service, a lot of the service personnel in Singapore can be just plain rude or awkward.
After accompanying Yani from one mall to the next, all of the malls seem very similar to one another. Same brands, similar layout. Similar sale signs, similar clientele. At the end of the long walk around Orchard, I had a flashback of myself around ten years ago when I was still working in Singapore. Tired and stressed, I would be walking home from work against the direction of the shoppers and the tourists in Orchard Road. By then it would have been around 8.00pm, still quite early by Singapore standard. 6.00pm or 7.00pm days were possible but few and far in between. I would then dread coming back to the office the next day where the wheel turned around again just like before. Of course the money was good and the socialising was great. I have made great friends from my years in Singapore.
So now after having half a day of Singapore-style holiday of mall-hopping, pedestrian-dodging and synchronised zebra-crossing walks, I am ready to head back home to Adelaide. I’m freshly showered from the transit hotel (I always have a shower before I take the late night flight to Adelaide). 🙂
I suppose I can really return to Singapore – it just depends whether I want to jump out of the slow cooker and into the high-powered microwave oven again! 🙂