Plastic Bags Basically Murder Squirrels

Hilly Muswell Hill

Hilly Muswell Hill

I see that the haze has returned to lovely Singas, and as always, I am dreadfully soz for my Expaterati friendses. When I get all the guest rooms sorted, you must jump on a plane and come to stay.

Despite Singapore being soooooooo much better than England, and being a glamorous expat also being soooooooo much better than not, I don’t miss having the view outside my window obscured by smoke. The haze was, in de facto, my second least favourite Sing Ting, and I’m glad to see that it is finally hitting the world news as it truly is ridic and must be stopped.

My first least favourite Sing Ting was the plastic bag situation. You might not know this about me, given my many fascinating aspects, but I am a keen environmentalist and all round eco warrior – espesh now that I’m not flying thousands of miles several times a year, and can therefore thusly be more integretated in my environmentality (am planning a trip to Florida for Xmas, but that’s only a teensy pop across the Atlantic, and I’ll put the kids in Economy as that’s presumably more envo-friendo… why else would it be cheaper??). Also, there’s this truly wicked camouflage trend over here which I have whole-heartedly adopted as it looks fantastic on me, so dressing as a warrior is cool, and puts less strain on the earth’s resources because camouflage actually absorbs methane and greenhouse gases, according to an online study I read somewhere. SO, if I buy even more camouflage stuff to add to my suddenly vast collection which I won’t be wearing once it’s way passé next Spring, I’m actually supporting the desperately needy Asian economies (well, mainly China, but that’s fine because it has been lovely hosting President Xi Jinping this past week and it’s obvious that he totes <3 ‘s us and all things Britannia, so I’m happy to participate in the lurv), as well as doing my bit for the environment.  Win-win!

I digress though because the point is is that in Singapore they positively throw plastic bags at you in the shops (not the high-end clothing shops, of course; they use a paper-based material that is related to trees and thereforely easily grown in forests), and when I did any supermarket shopping for myself (the help did tend to get the wrong stuff despite ample tutelage), I had to practically shout at the assistant, “No bags, lah!”, as they over-zelottedly packed my incrediblé expensive cheese and Veuve Click into damn plastics! What super annoyed me as well was seeing the customer before me and the customer after me accepting said plastic bags… for single items which could easily have fitted into their enormous LV handbags or the stout arms of their offspring. I gave those people some looks, I can assure you, but no one seemed to care nor have the leastest awareness that there are seals suffocating in the South Seas, and squirrels who’ve had their tails entangled in plastic due directly to this default handing out of unnecessary bags. It’s a disgrace. If those squirrels lose their tails, they’re basically done for. And how would you feel, as a squirrel mother or father, knowing that your little one had been taken down by a Singaporean plastic bag..? Not great, I would wager. Given that I am a big on making a difference where it counts, I did contemplate the initiationification of a campaign to tackle this issue (like, could the check-out person just ask, “Do you really really need a bag?”), but my Singaporean bestie said I shouldn’t as it might cause problems for expat vs local relations. In the end I was so busy juggling my life as a celebrité blogger/ rap artiste, with being an awesome wife and mother, whilst maintaining my rigorous health and beauty regime, plus my serioso hectic social life, that I didn’t really have time to make a difference. That said, I guess I have made a difference by sharing myself with you, dear readers, and I do not under-estimate the valuation therein.

Anyhoo so, in the UK (well in London at least… UK..? I’m not sure… where does that cover exactly, outside London?) they’ve just introduced a charge on plastic bags , which I think is amazebobs. I ventured to Muswell Hill earlier this week to see how things have picked up there – they so have!! A Sweaty Betty next door to a Le Creuset! Praise be!! – and I dashed into the new little Waitrose to get Max’s preferred brioche. I was just about to extract a cloth bag from my Burberry Prorsum Bloomsbury when I realised how tacky it looks now to not pay for a plastic bag. Argh!! Hashtag mortified!! Luckily my astute brain clicked in early enough to avoid social mortificato, and I got three bags: one for the brioche, one for the chicken sag masala (love that now I have to cook for myself), and one for the very padded loo paper. It felt wrong to put the input and output goods in the same bag. Just wrong.

When I got home I was faced with yet another layer of mortificationism as the cleaner had placed low-value detritus at the top of my recycling boxes… Outside the front of the house!! A woman’s work is never done, I thought to myself as I covered up the Sainsbury’s mild smoked salmon sleeves with Gucci online shopping packaging, and then a Nike shoe box to add a touch of Street. As if life as a single mum in London wasn’t hard enough without a cleaner who shows scant regard for recycling etiquette!!

I <3 gentrification!!

I <3 gentrification!!

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20 Thingses I’ll Miss About Awesome Singapore

coke can

I took a long trip up and down Orchard Road today because cousin Clara the psychologist told me last night that I should. She told me to go alone, given that the Froofster distracts me with inspiration for rap lyrics. The irritants were on playdates and Don’s away, so alone wasn’t beyond the realm of contemplation.

Initially Clara’s words were to, “find a place in nature to just be, and to consider the notion of change from the perspective of plants and wildlife… the natural tendency towards growth and transition as time moves on, whether we choose to embrace the changes or not”.

I explained to Clara that places in nature such as the Botanical Gardens, as lovely as they are, ain’t no Hampstead Heath. Too hot by the time I get up and out, babeses. Macritchie also awesome, but also waaaayyy too hot, and it would take me at least 20 minutes to get there, which surpasses my usual 12 minute travel limit. Plus, as I told her, if we’re talking natural habitat, that’s Orchard Road for me. I know every nook and cranny – every side street, every shop, every bar, every restaurant, probably everybody, and every floor of every mall from Plaza Sing to the Palais Renaissance.

So she said, “Ok, Emma-Jane, take a walk down Orchard, if that’s your natural habitat. If you are leaving, it’s important that you begin to process the losses, whatever those might be. A good starting point is to reflect on what you are going to miss.”

Alora, this morning I started my day by reflectiating on what I might miss, and I made a mental list as I rollerbladed the length of Orchard Road – the sun streaming through my raspberry locks.

Here are the 20 things that I know already I will miss about Singapore:

1. Waking up in the morning to see an army of helpers cleaning the cars parked beneath my window. Such a reassuring sight.

2. Being asked if I have a passion card (worst chat-up line everrrrr – still don’t get it).

3. Amusingly and so coolly peppering my speech with lahs, cans and cannots. It’s so great being able to fit in with a little bit of lingo, and it’s v important to learn the local language as an expat.

4. Walking around looking awesomely hot at any hour of the day or night, and not being in fear of my life. I can walk from the bay to home at 3 AM dressed however I chose without the possibility of later being told by a cross-examining barrister that I was Asking For It.

5. My soft-top Maserati. It’s just not on to flaunt one’s wealth quite so openly in the UK unless one is a foreigner. A bit like that quaint tall poppy thing in Australia.

6. The help. I suppose we’ll have to get a couple of au pairs (but they refuse to wash cars, so we might need to get a driver too), or bite the bullet and shell out £80k per annum for the equivalent wrap-around assistance to which we are accustomed here.

7. Putting tons of clothes on to go inside rather than to go outside.

8. Constantly meeting bundles of like-minded Expaterati types – even if they ditch you when they know you’re off-ski. We’ll stay in touch though, right babeses?! Ya, see you in Bangkok, sweets, or London, or San Fran. Totes!! There’s no bye in goodbye anymore – it’s all just GOOD.

9. Being able to take selfies without feeling #awkz. Euro peeps just don’t get how awesome selfies are.

10. Cheap taxis with such friendly uncles.

11. Sweet Singaporeans who’ll apologise to you if you accidentally crash into them while crossing the road and simultaneously Whatsapping… as opposed to stabbing you, like they do in London.

12. Whatsapping whilst crossing roads (due to afore-mentioned risk of stabbage).

13. Languid evenings of cocktails and Veuve Click on roof terraces all year round.

14. Glamorous holidays sans long flights and jetlag with the irritants. Ok so Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines are all a bit of a blur to me now, but at least I can still name the countries and largely distinguish one hotel kids club from another. (There might’ve been another county, I forget.)

15. The tropical bird sounds at dawn and dusk. Think it’s just magpies in London now, with the occasional flock of parakeets south of the river, should one foolishly choose to venture in that direction. Not my scene, no matter how much I might miss Singaporean birdsong.

16. Geckos. Froo Froo will miss those more than I will, but I greatly prefer a gecko to its British counterpart, the slug.

17. The proximity and fabulous ease of Changi Airport. No further explanation required. Changi just rocks. We all know that.

18. Having a tan. All. The. Time. Hashtag sadface : (!!!!!

19. Countless amazebobs bars and restaurants within 10-20 minutes of anywhere on the island. In London it’s always, “See you in an hour…”

20. The expat wives’ social media groups. I’m probably going to have to start watching more TV again, or Dios help me, even get involved with the dramas of our extended families. Ugh. Just ugh. Kill me now.


So those are the 20 things I’ve come up with thus far thereinly. My fear is that there may be many more to compound my woes, should the nightmare of repatriation actually occur. I can only cling for now onto Voltaire’s conclusion that all is for the best in the best possible of worlds. I’m totes about that. Hashtag yeah baby. Everything will be alright.

What To Do When…

…there are compromising images of another Expaterati “Lady” on your husband’s iCloud. (I wanted to put that as the whole post title, but it was just too long – argh! – and I couldn’t get hold of my friend who writes punchy innuendo-laden headlines for a nasty UK newspaper.)

As you will note from last week’s shocking revelation, I found some rather disgusting photos of Liz on Don’s iCloud. There is no point in addressing the matter with Don, because it is clearly an error, but given that I am not one to rest wanly on my laurels, I have taken prompt action. This may well happen to you also, and I therefore wanted to give you the benefit of my expert knowledge on the subject, gained by bitter experience.

1.I kept one well ok, maybe a few, of the pictures of Liz. You never know when you might need that filthy stuff.

2. I had a photo shoot, so that I could get some beautiful tasteful photos, to show the world what a real woman should look like. I had to do a bit of a blur job myself because, unlike Liz, I don’t want my flesh all over the internet. Have you seen the internet lately?! Stuff can really get around.

3. I have jetted off to London to plunder the Spring collections of Alex McQueen RIP, Vic Beckham, et al. Singapore shopping is way fab, but for British designers, I would advise that you go directly to the scene of the crime. After a lovely, irritant-free flight during which I drank champagne and watched Gone Girl again, twice, (that film just mystifies me!! One day I’ll understand it, if I watch it enough times), I got to Heathrow before dawn, and headed straight to Mayfair, to hook up with some of my London Queens*. They’d all come from their early gym sessions, and ditched work for the morning, just to have breakfast with little ole moi. Love yous, babeses, XOX!!

Then off to the shops we went, and I got a few amazebobs pieces. Nailed it, and it was only Day One. I rock at shopping, I really do.

 

What a real woman should look like, babeses

What a real woman should look like, babeses

 

 

* I TOTES love that song, London Queen!! It’s just me all over. I’ve bought some tix to see Charli XCX in Singers in April, and I haven’t released details yet, but I’ll be inviting one lucky reader to join me and my Expaterati girlies on an awesome night out. Yup!! Watch this space!!!

 

 

 

 

EJ on ISIS

I am extremely concerned about, and tremendously baffed by, this whole ISIS business. I am very much anti-war, but I do make an exception when it’s about protecting innocent civilians, and preserving our decent way of life.

I also love shopping in NYC, so I absolutely dread anything happening there again; and I have a school friend in DC, so that would would be terrible too. Plus, I’m so worried for my expat friends in the UAE. It’s bad enough that it’s so hideously hot there, but having this to contend with too?! Awful.

And then there’s London of course. I have friends who use the tube regularly. Not to mention what it would do to the value of our house and our rental properties in town. We are hoping that by being non-doms we will escape that dreadful capital gains tax when we sell, but if the property market takes a dive before then, that tax saving could get swallowed up : (

It’s all v worrying.

I’m also v confused about the term “ISIS”. Or IS? Or is it ISIL? I read an interesting article, but feel none the wiser really:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/09/12/347711170/isis-isil-or-islamic-state-whats-in-a-name

When I was skyping with Clara, we got talking about it, and she said some equally interesting, but equally baffling things about the situation. She was talking about the concept of “The Other” (?), and said that as humans, we like to club together in our tribes (hmmm, which tribe am I in? None! I’m in the EJ tribe!), and we subconsciously (or did she say unconsciously..?) create an “other” – like an us versus them thing.

So, according to Clara, inside each of us is our idea of ourselves and people who are like us, and then this other idea of the opposite: not ourselves and people who aren’t like us. I’m not sure I agree because I just see the whole world as one big human family : )

Anyway, Clara says that because it’s all unconscious and symbolic (?), we need something or someone concrete to make it real, “to embody that Other”, as she put it, so that we can think and take action. (That’s where you really lost me, lovely cuz!)

She says that our governments have made it concrete by doing a kind of re-branding, like a failing business might do when it’s trying to re-market itself. Clara thinks that whereas before it was Saddam, and then it was Osama, now they have re-branded the “Other” as the IS.

I dunno, Clara. I think you might be over-thinking the whole thing as usual.

I’m just glad that this time it’s not about our troops wading in and putting themselves at risk, but instead it’s about helping the poor old locals to help themselves. I know a lot of people who would agree with me on that, including people who were very much anti-war before, when Clara’s “Others” were Saddam and Osama.