Smart Move, Singapore!

In the same way that the early Americans built their towns and cities on a sensible grid system to counter the problems inherent in the more naturally evolved infrastructure of old England, Singapore has created an extremely wise solution to avoid the ills which arose from cheap labour in the Americas: do not allow these people to breed.

This interesting fact was explained to me by a taxi driver yesterday. I went to a fabulous spa on Sentosa for a facial, massage, mud wrap, and reflexology – really lovely! I like to have cheaper, more local treatments on Orchard Road at least once a week, but as Don is away, I deserved a spesh treat. I’ve been getting really quite stressed since he left (yesterday morning), what with the ongoing worry about Max’s Minecraft obsession (over which I have abso zero control, and now he has started watching YouTube clips about it, which probably signals the inevitable terminus of his six-year childhood); and Milly’s dysfunctional relationship with Froo Froo dog.

I’m v concerned about Froo Froo too because she has taken a turn for the worse, and seems to be muttering to herself in dark corners of the house. At this rate, the poor thing will need psychological support that I am simply not equipped to deliver. That’ll be expensive here, no doubt : ( Maybe I can find a Skype dog psychologist.

Sometimes I wish we lived in the States. Things like dog therapy are much cheaper there. Moving for the dog’s sanity, though, would probably not hold much sway with Don. He didn’t even want to bring the Froofster. When it came to the crunch, I had to say (bluffing, of course) that it was me and the dog, or neither of us. He did think about it for quite a while, looking back.

Anyway, so I spent the cab journey to Sentosa catching up on the news on Facebook. I like to keep abreast of the goings-on on the Singapore Expat Wives’ group. It’s very much you-snooze-you-lose with that group because there are so many interesting posts constantly emerging.

On the return journey though, I was all zen and relaxed, so I settled back into the seat, and listened to the driver’s sweet chitchat. So, that was when he told me about this clever way of discouraging the lower working people from breeding.

He explained that, as the vast majority of domestic workers (female, of course) are Filipinas, the imported manual laborers and such males are deliberately not from the Philippines. Genius!

Instead, they are Bangladeshi or Chinese, and because they often don’t speak English, and certainly not Tagalog, fraternising simply does not occur; thus no little baby working people are born on Singaporean soil. Pretty clever, eh? That, plus the required six-monthly pregnancy tests for domestics, pretty much sews up the problem : ) It covers all bases, as those hilariously metaphorical yanks would say.

By the time I got to Dempsey to meet my new friend Liz for lunch (Liz knows Deb, whom I know from our last country, from the country they were in before that; I think it was Zambia, or Namibia or somewhere; def one of the African “ia”s), I felt v curious and inspired by the circumstances of the lower workers in Singapore. I am considering writing a book, if I can find the time, either about Filipina domestics, or perhaps a collection of taxi driver tales. Both would be so fascinating, I can’t decide! (I still haven’t decided about my pool towel and club dilemnas! Argh!!)

Thankfully, I have at least made up my mind about which Gucci bag to have flown in to Dubai airport. Quel relief!

I think Liz, particularly as a newcomer, was v interested in my potential sociological studies because she kept nodding, smiling, and saying, “Ah, yes” and “Oh really?”. In her previous (pre-expat wife) life, she was an editor on a highbrow British paper, so she knows a good story when she sees one. Lay off my ideas, Liz!! LOLs.

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Tekka Market

I’m feeling a little more chirpy today, and I was up early, so I decided to go to Tekka Market, the only place that’s open before 10 o’clock. I went during our early days in Singapore, but when I got my local iPhone (they “recycle” phone numbers here, so it’s interesting trying to figure out who had your number before; mine definitely belonged to a lady, and I often wonder what happened to her; maybe she died), I started receiving these odd texts, saying things like, “Meet me in the toilets at Tekka, so I can bleep your bleepy bleep”. Pardon?!

Initially, I just ignored the messages, but they got more and more bleepy, to the point of unpleasantness. So I responded that I was most definitely not interested in having my bleep or my bleep bleepily bleeped. That didn’t seem to make a difference though, and it was only when I got threatening that it stopped.

I wrote, in caps, that I would report the filthy bleep to Starhub. That worked. It’s so nice that in Singapore even the low-life vile people feel intimidated by authority. I know only too well from my previous life as a lawyer, that that is not the case in the UK.

Anyway, now that it’s safe to return to Tekka (avoiding the toilets, of course), I decided to go for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we’ve been in Singapore for two solid months now without any regional travel, and it’s lovely to pretend occasionally that we are in Southeast Asia: the hustle and bustle of the regular folk, and the interesting, if at times sickening, sights and smells. The nag champa takes me right back to my summer festival days, when I was young and free, and didn’t have all this responsibility.

Secondly, my helper and I usually shop at our nearest supermarkets, on Orchard Road, and it’s really much cheaper at the wet markets. I’ve heard that our local shop is the most expensive place on the island to buy food : ( Oh dear. Naughty old me!

So I bought some wonderfully fresh fruit, veggies, and fish, all for under $50, and then dashed home in a cab, which was $10.

I’m in a bit of a hurry now because I have to run to my private Pilates session, and then I’m meeting Deb for lunch at one of those swanky celebrity chef restaurants on Sentosa. I think I’d better have the helper meet me after Pilates to collect my gym stuff. I don’t want to be lugging all that around at a fancy-pants restaurant, now do I?? That’s not my modus operandi.