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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Expats Can Be Such Totes A-Holes!

Most of us are awesome and lovely, but I have to say that some expats are incredibly rude, self-centred, and self-important. If locals ever develop a negative opinion of us, perhaps sometimes it is entirely justified. Today I witnessed an appalling example of this, while in a lift at the Ion, and I would like to share the incident with you, dear readers (wow, I definitely no longer have to say reader, single! Thanks, Mummy, for telling your scrabble group!), so that you can join me in my expression of outrage.

Ok. So. There are a ton of malls in Singapore, and generally they have a lotta lifts (elevators, lovely Americans, elevators. But your word is cooler : D), serving a lotta floors. Often the lifts can get crowded, and might take a while in transit between floors. Today I got the lift down from the PS Café (who knew they had a terrace? Well, my gorgeous NYC friend who I met for lunch knew! Yay! She asked not to be named) to B2, and then back up again to exit. I was too stuffed after over-indulging in the truffle fries (love love LOVE those fries) to get the escalator.

When the doors slid open at B1, there were these two blonde women standing there, and the one with a gigantic pushchair (the kind that there’s plenty of room for on the wild plains of Hampstead Heath, but here, darling?? I don’t think so), looked quite unattractively frazzled. The one without the pushchair forced her way into the lift – where honestly there was absolutely zero space – and began imploring the existing liftees to make room for her friend. Ex-kuse me?? We were here first, honey. Entonces mi amores, myself and the rest of the liftees had to squash together (lucky for her we were all completely unimpaired, unencumbered people! I mean, what if we had been wheelchair-users or we had had pushchairs too??).

During this cringe-worthy unfoldment, Pushchair Bird said, “I’m really sorry, but I have been waiting for 15 minutes to go up one level because I don’t feel comfortable taking the pushchair on the escalator with a small baby, and all the lifts have been full. I’m sorry to squash you, but if anyone is able to take the escalators, I’d be really grateful.”

She looked like she was about to cry, but thankfully we were all able to avoid eye contact, ignore her pleas, and be-grudgingly make enough room for the silly woman and her stupid baby. A guy at the back said, “There’s really no room!”, and I thought, “Ha, you tell her, sunshine!”

OMG. In those moments, I was truly ashamed to be the only other non-local present. How abso toteso embarrassing. I just wanted to curl up and die right there in the basement of the Ion. Yowzer. Who did that Pushchair Bird think she was?? Disgraceful behaviour. And that’s why it is no wonder if sometimes our hosts view us with negativity. The minority spoil it for the majority.

Now, my cousin Clara says that this kind of thing is an illustration of what happens when Caucasians move to certain countries, notably those with a colonial history, where they are easily physically identifiable as being foreigners. The specific words she used when we spoke today (I didn’t tell her about this exact incident, but this is what she said in general about the expaterati) were “inflation”, “narcissism”, and “being a big fish in a small pond” (um thanks, Clara, for that patronising use of metaphor, but you’ve completes missed the mark there because Don was a big fish at home; so you may need to check back in with your textbooks, sweets).

Anyhoo. After the Ion, I stopped off at Marketplace at the Paragon to get sushi for Max’s dinner, a Waitrose ready-meal for Milly (she loves those and the helper is busy washing the car and cleaning the shoes tonight, so I thought I’d give her a break), and the next stock of organic f and v for my green smoothie tomoz. Incidentally, Don’s out tonight, so I won’t be eating. Not after all those fries.

I get to the till and the check-out minion starts putting my purchases into plastic bags, as per usuo. Then I notice from my peripheral vision that the (obv expat) woman behind me has produced her re-usable bags, and is giving me the full-on evil eye! (the “hairy eyeball”, as Kath & Kim would say, so much LOLOLOL). So, I’m like, “What, now, now, now??”

Not being one to avoid conflict (bottling it in is not good for my chi), I turned right around to face that B – while flashing my Passion Card across the reader – and said, “Sorry, do we have a problem here?”

And you will not believe what that hoity-toity B-face said…

She said: “Do you know how long it takes for those bags to degrade? It takes from 20 to 1,000 years for every single bag, and a lot of bad things happen to marine wildlife along the way. I totally understand if today you’re just in a hurry, or you forgot to bring a bag, but you can have one of mine if you like.”

For the second time in one day, dear readers, I was just dumb-founded. The arrogance of these people! As a Brit, and therefore a Servant and an Ambassador of Her Majesty, I am always polite, even in extremely tense situations like this one (given my astounding composure, I should become a hostage negotiator. I would be amazo at that, and I could defo turn those ISIS peeps around. Tweet me, Barack and Dave). So I said to the B, “Thank you, that is really immensely kind of you, but the checkout girl has already packed my things, and it would be an insult and a burden for her to have to re-pack them. But thank you. Really.”

As I spoke, I gave her my very pretty Kate Middleton smile.

Ha! That told her!! Her high-horse clearly wouldn’t let her waste the time of a lower worker. Haha!! Own-goal there, dearie. Hahahahahaha : )

The fact remains, though, that non-expats can also in addition as well be total a-holes, too. Take, for example, my cousin Clara.

[Abso no offence Clara, but during our conversation today you were a complete C to me, and you really had no right to talk to me like that.]

When we were skyping earlier, I was telling Clara that I thought my helper’s bras were a little risqué (I see them on the washing line if I am ever in that part of the house), so I am thinking of ordering her to dispose of said items and buy more conservative breast support-wear. Clara responded that I have “no right to dictate what she wears under her clothes” (wtf?), and even when I expressed my concern that she may have a hot skype paypal business (why else would she need these garments? Surely she doesn’t have a boyfriend… that’s not allowed here), Clara took the help’s side against mine! She said that my helper “is an adult and can wear whatever she chooses, if it doesn’t affect her employment with me”.

Oh, Clara. You seem so knowledgable/ know-it-all, but I am beginning to wonder if you have any clue what the real world is like. No offence. Mwa Mwa, cuz xox

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P.S. Clara, your page about On the Skype Couch has only had a couple hundred hits in the last few weeks, so I decided to remove you from the page name. It’s much more impressive with just my name, and I’ve already noticed a surge in hits since I cut you out.