Tuesday, 14 July 2015

One week on

The Rest and Relax Rooms in Heathrow
I decided to splash out on our trip here. To GET here. At Heathrow they have these rooms you can hire now for a small fortune. When we left for Singapore, i had not stopped doing anything for about a week. I wrote reports, organised the classroom, cleaned the house, visited people, and THEN i had about half an hour before we headed to City Airport. At City Airport i had a glass of wine while reading Beowulf. It was the first time i had sat down to do something which i had wanted to do. REALLY wanted to do which was not related to running around. And then it hit me - i was exhausted. When we got to Heathrow we headed for The Perfectionist Cafe, because it is reasonably priced and it is like our little treat. Then after that, we headed down stairs, and i saw this facility.

Your own shower and toilet
 I first encountered this sort of thing when i went to Indonesia. I don't know which airport started it. But essentially. you can either hang out in the main departure lounge or buy yourself some downtime. We had a six hour wait - well, four now, since we had lunch at the cafe... and i just thought - i am going to buy us some chilling out time. So we got this room - it IS a small fortune, but when i calculate all those hours we spent hanging out in misery in airport lounges through my entire life, i reckon, i OWED myself this. £90 for three hours. A double bed, shower, toilet and a lounge with food and free wifi and sofas and a bar.

I got in, took a shower and then just crashed on the bed. The boys headed for the lounge where they helped themselves to Sprite and wifi. Verdicit: totally worth it and i would so do it again.


Just cant get enough of Wifi
Eventually, after a couple of hours they got back to the room and had a shower and we all chilled out.

What most of Singapore looks like now
I find Singapore beyond reason now. In a world which is dying because of conspicuous consumption - yes, i know how contradictory it is me taking the lounge and flying, etc, but in a world which is on its knees because of this rampant consumption, Singapore still has not finished with it yet. It plans to have 10 million people living here. After a few hours here, two things happen to you - you either are complete overwhelmed by materialist reality, or you just reject it and say, this is most definitely more to life than this. I fall into the latter category, my sons the former. It is escapism that they come to Singapore for. Mind you, given the madness going on in Belfast now, with the riots over nothing, it is clear that insanity is not the exclusive right of cutting edge capitalism.

An endless succession of shopping malls and cafes
I do not find what Singapore has to offer lovely and wonderful at all. I find it mostly over the top, pointless and obscene. Because of this all my posts will not be linked to FB because i really don't want to have this shared around.

Singaporeans are not a nice bunch on the internet. They tend to be hysterical and abusive. And irrational.

Bakeries with all kinds of bread - the latest fad - charcoal bread
Mostly i cannot order anything in Singapore now because people do not speak English or Malay. You'd think that after a generation of universalish education, there would be a common bond between Singaporeans. However, we have begun the national building timeline at year dot once again by having this third wave of migration - all the service staff are not Singaporean. They are from other countries. I do not know what jobs Singaporeans do any more. So the only people i can communicate with are Filipinos. There are also very few Malaysians. I can speak to Malaysians. But being in this part of the world, it generally means that you will not know where someone is from until they start speaking. And people don't really have a common language to speak any longer. Chinese people will speak Mandarin quite happily - i think that Chinese speaking staff are generally employed in places where Chinese speakers live. I do not speak Chinese even though i look Chinese. But mostly i am mistaken for being a maid.

Small makan shops selling food which sorta tastes of something
The food in Singapore is a hit and miss affair. Only foreigners would say that the food here is good. Ang mos especially will rave about the food. The food here is fairly substandard and shit, compared to how it was years ago. I have never been obsessed with food, never, but i did know a good bowl of noodles when i ate it. Now to get that kind of what would have been just passable standard of food you'd have to go through lots of bowls of noodles. I had one today at Yishun, and it was the first delicious bowl of kuay teow i had since arriving - and it was still only ok. This sounds mental, i know, and very ungrateful. But it is evidence that more is not better. To find good food you just have to cook it yourself. It is ironic.

Shops everywhere you turn
Every corner of Singapore is stuffed with shops. Money is to be made everywhere. Money is actually the common language of Singaporeans. The subtext and supertext of everything is MONEY. If it is not of a high enough value, it is not worth valuing. I suppose that is the common language.

Escalators everywhere you turn too!
The boys are mostly oblivious to all this because to them Singapore is just the best fun ever. They get to swim daily, and eat food they never eat, and just laze about. Although we do work in the morning and we have visited places like the Natural History Museum. I have to say that i miss the quiet spaces - there are no longer any wild places in Singapore. Even the wildest of places is managed. There is no serenity because the noise and the distractions overlap everywhere. No one wants to go out because there are constant traffic jams and there are too many people everywhere. As an introvert it is completely intolerable to me. I just have to accept it for what it is. If anyone needs to see capitalism eat itself, it should come to Singapore. I do not know how this is going to continue.

Fluorescent lighting and jazz music playing all day -
it is my idea of hell
Where does all the raw material for construction come from? There is a giant superstructure going up near the park where i run everyday. It is a new school. It is a monster. It is several stories high and covered in glass and concrete. I watch the men work on it with their many diggers and their oxyactelene torches and their wheelbarrows and cement mixers. It is awe inspiring. But also horrifying at the same time.

The boys however think this is the bees knees
We have pizza this evening. That meal cost us £20. This is a cray fortune in Singapore - well it used to be. Now without $20, no one should leave the house. Money is pouring from every orifice here. There are SOME pockets where there are free things - like the water play park in Punggol, the walk in Macritchie, but these are far and few between.

As long as you can get pepperoni pizza

Everything though is really expensive now

Still money cannot boy this cutie
Anyway, my next five weeks in Singapore will be just to enjoy what it has to offer and not be bothered by everything else - essentially be the boys. To do my lesson plans and to help my mom get her garden in shape. That is a good plan. Tomorrow i am going to start tidying it up - there are lots of pots and tiles which need to be either binned or cleaned and repurposed. And then i am going to visit friends. Depending on the friend i will share my thoughts with, otherwise, it is just best to enjoy what friendship has to offer. Meanwhile the world is going through a meltdown. It is just so obvious in Singapore - it is as if by trying their very very best, the powers of crass materialism have revealed their hand and it is too much and too obvious.

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