Archive for the ‘Singapore’ Category

Durians + Booze = Fail

Friday, September 18th, 2009

I can’t believe this is true. I’ve heard this myth a ton of times and always thought it to be a old wive’s tale. Who knew.

NewScientist

Wait a while.

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

I hear this phrase quite a bit and have no idea what to make of it.

“Please, wait a while.”

When ever you’re in a situation that necessitates you to wait any amount of time at all, Singaporeans use that phrase. The most recent occurance of this happened last week at the doctors office.

I had just seen the doctor and was at the reception desk. I still needed to get a MC (Medical Certificate). I signed the forms that I needed, then asked the receptionist about the note.

“Please, wait a while.”

What does that mean? I was standing at the reception desk, if it was going to be a while, should I take a seat? If it was only going to take a few seconds, wouldn’t she have said, “Please, wait a second.” or “Please, wait a moment”

If it was going to take a while truly, she wasn’t going to have me wait and block the reception desk right?

In the end, I waited about 2-3 minutes at the desk. More than the standard amount of time that would have prompted “Please, have a seat.”

I’m still confused. How long is a while?

iPhone 3GS MADNESS!!!!

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

So, Apple and Singtel has just released the new iPhone 3GS here in Singapore. And I’m in line to pick one up.

MADNESS!!!

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that Singaporeans love to “queue” or line up for thing. They also love good deals and they have a love for new tech gadgets. This has led to the most unholiest of trinities. A 5 hour line!!!

MADNESS!!!!

And the deal is so good I can’t pass it up either. I’ll be able to pick up a new iPhone 3GS for only S$38 this weekend with a 2 year contract. Normally it’ll cost S$1200 to buy it outright. Nuts. Absolutely nuts.

Here’s a pic of the first line of 3 that I’ll need to get into to purchase my phone.

RED MANGO IS HERE!

Friday, June 19th, 2009

My goal of transplanting all the things I miss from the US to Singapore got a step closer today. I was reading around the local food blogs and came across this little jem.

Camemberu

Basically, RED MANGO IS HERE!!! It’s been here the whole time I’ve been in Singapore almost. But its tucked away in a corner of one of the millions of malls in this city. I’m going to have to make a trip there this weekend and see if it’s the same as in the US.

#01-140G, Tasty Treatz
Suntec City Mall
3 Temasek Boulevard
Singapore
Open 10am to 10pm

Crazy taxi story #3

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

One last crazy taxi story.

This also happened to my friend. I swear she has the worst luck with taxis.

While waiting in a taxi stand one night after work, my friend realized that she had no cash on her. She did have a credit card though. Not all taxis take credit cards though. So my friend waited in the the taxi queue and asked each taxi as they pulled up if they had a credit card machine. If they didn’t, she let someone go first and waited for the next one.

She let a few go by, and then one came by and he asked the driver, “Do you have a credit card machine in your taxi?”

“Have. Got machine.”

So she told the driver to take her to “The Bayshore.” Upon reaching her condo, she presented him with her credit card. He then proceeded to try swiping it a few times. Then handed the card back to her.

He then told her that the antenna doesn’t work and asked her for cash. At which point she became livid.

“What do you mean the antenna doesn’t work? I asked if you had a credit card machine!”

“Have! Have machine!!”

Basically, he answered her question that yes, he does have a machine. But she never asked him if it actually worked.

When she told him she had no cash, he drover her to a ATM. But, made her pay to take her there. Crazy.

Crazy taxi story #2

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Calling for a taxi can be just as harrowing an experience. Here’s a story a friend of mine shared with me.

My friend lives in a condo called “The Bayshore.” Next door is another condo complex called “Bayshore Park”

This is how the conversation went:
F = My friend
O = The cab Operator.

Ring-Ring
O: Hello, this is the taxi company. How can I help you?
F: I would like to call for a taxi.
O: Where would you like to be picked up at?
F: I live at “The Bayshore” Can you send a taxi here? Now, just to make sure, send the taxi here and not “The Bayshore Park” ok? Some taxi drivers get the two confused.
O: Ok. I think I understand. But let me repeat it just in case. You would like a taxi to “Not The Bayshore Park” is that correct?
F: Huh? Where are you sending the taxi?
O: “Not The Bayshore Park”
F: No!!! I live at “The Bayshore” not “The Bayshore Park”
O: We are sending the taxi to (proceeds to spell the next part) “N-O-T T-H-E B-A-Y-S-H-O-R-E P-A-R-K”
Is that correct?
F: Who the hell lives at a place call “Not The Bayshore Park?” I live at “The Bayshore”
O: I don’t think I understand.
F: Thats ok. Forget about it. I don’t need a taxi.
O: Good bye.

I shit you not. This is how the conversation went. Crazy right?

Crazy taxi stories

Friday, May 15th, 2009

I’ve collected a number of interesting taxi stories in the last year that I’ve been here. And I’m going to share the best ones with you.

To understand these stories you will need to know that Taxis are a constant source of aggrevation, pain, joy, and gossip for Singaporeans and expats alike.

Taxis here are plentiful. It makes owning a car almost pointless. However, in Singapore, I’ve had taxi drivers refuse to drive me. Where they learned this habit, I have no idea. It goes a little something like this:

Standing on the side of the road, I flag a cab down. The driver pulls up and opens his window. He then asks me where I’m headed to. I’ll tell him a destination like City Hall. Then he’ll say,”That’s too far. Take the next cab.”

And then I’m left on the side of the road, speechless as he drives off. Seriously. When was the last time you heard a taxi driver say a destination is too far for him? They make money depending on how far they travel. I would think a far destination would be good. Would a banker tell you that you’ve got too much money and to go to the next bank? Ludicrous.

Word of the day

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Today’s word of the day is “Kiasu”. Kiasu is an adjective that describes a person usually. When a person is kiasu, they can’t stand to be left out or more accurately, this is a person that wants it all.

For instance, say there are multiple events going on in the same evening, a person who is kiasu will have to go to each one even if it’s just for a few minutes at each. Or, a friend might have just bought a new gadget so you need to go out and buy it as well.

I suppose this translates into a phrase used occasionally in the US, “Keeping up with the Jones”

Singapore and Asia in general has a lot of “Kiasu” going on. I think it has to do with always being a step or two behind the West or Europe. I guess that’s why we have an indoor snowboarding facility, an ice rink, and soon a casino.

Be prepared for crap

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Don’t read this post if you’re about to eat a meal or are squeamish about bowel movements. You’ve been warned.

While travelling a few weeks ago, I had a moment of great clarity and dread. I went into a restroom to drop a couple of kids off at the pool. When I finished my business I reached for the toilet paper, only to find the roll empty. I quickly scanned around and found a second roll, but not before I noticed that the toilet I was using was equipped with a bidet.

I’ve never used a bidet before.

Nor do I know how to use one. How do you use one? Do you just splash water on yourself, hoping that the force of the water loosens everything and it all falls neatly into the bowl? Or do you use your free hand to help things along? How do you know when it’s all clean? What about after your done? Do you just “air-dry”? Or do you use tissue paper as well? Which makes me ask, why not use tissue paper to begin with?

Then it occurs to me that I don’t know how to use a squatting toilet either. These kinds of toilets are even more common in Asia. Sometimes, they are just a hole in the floor. Sometimes it has water and flushing mechanism as well. How do you use one of these? Do you pull your trousers to your ankles? What if you have a particularly powerful session? (This is going to be gross) Won’t there be splatter? And what about cleanup? If it’s just a hole in the floor, will there be tissue paper? Or do you need to bring your own? There are just too many questions.

Paying for crap

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

An interesting thing I’ve noticed traveling around Asia is the fact that you need to pay to use restrooms in some countries. The cost is a trifle. .05c to .30c.

The thing that bothers me though is that usually they state that the money is used to maintain these facilities. And invariably, those facilities are the ones that are the dirtiest, filthiest and in the most disrepair.

I don’t mind paying. Heck I’d pay more if the facilities were better maintained. But then again, that’s just me.