Sunday, March 04, 2007

In the land of the Singa-Pura

I find it very weird when friends ask me, "Why are you doing in Singapore?" when they see my MSN message -- well, let's see, I just came back from San Francisco about 2 weeks ago, I'm hot and bothered in Penang and I need a job -- why would I NOT be in Singapore?

I haven't really decided if I like this city yet...oops, I mean, country. Heh. But it still has my attention, I'm not bored yet and I'm still discovering some cool things about the city, so we'll see. I love the MRT -- then again, all forms of efficient transportation are friends. For some reason though, as simple as the MRT/LRT looks, I still can't figure out which is where is Singapore, my bearings are still not in place yet. Which is very strange, because it took me less than 15 minutes to figure out New York's subway system and London's Underground -- weird.

Had some good food in the past couple of days, thanks for Zhuang's brother and his wife Michelle, who has generously taken us in and given us not only a roof over our heads, but is feeding us (in extremely generous portions) and telling us lost sheep which MRT station to stop at when we go for interviews. So far, ate at Akashi near Tanglin Mall -- yummy sashimi, comparable to San Francisco's sashimi but S$150 for 16 pieces of sashimi -- phew! Had dinner at Shunjuu at Robertson Pier (oops, I mean Quay -- these Brits). Interesting, because Shunjuu served sumiyaki -- which I think translates to mean charcoal grill -- a different side of Japanese food that neither Zhuang or I have had. Besides frozen yakitori, which doesn't count. The basic idea of sumiyaki is bar food or appetizers, so servings come in two skewers per order. We had mushrooms wrapped in chicken and bacon, shrimp wrapped in bacon (I died and went to heaven, my two favorite things combined), cabbage with bean paste dip, beef, pork and chicken skin skewers. Most of the skewers were good, but definitely would not re-order the kinki fish and arc shell. Went for western food at Colbar, which reminded us of Senior Citizen's Association back home in Penang, but the food was waaaaay below standard. I would take the Senior Citizen's Association roti babi and chicken chop anytime.

Singapore aside, things that have made me raise an eyebrow since I've been back:
- Where did all these Chinese come from? I mean, I know that Penang and Singapore have always had a big Chinese population but they're now everywhere I turn. Maybe it's because it's CNY. Singapore's not as bad, even though it's 76% Chinese, but it's strange because servers in restaurants speak to you in Mandarin and we had Din Tai Fung in Paragon a couple of days back, the server couldn't even speak English! On the bright side, it's a great place to practise my Mandarin.
- What's with the abbreviations? OMG. It's everywhere. I mean, how difficult is it to spell Los Angeles Times? Damn, I know NYT and WSJ are generally accepted abbreviations but LAT? Honestly. Or ICT?
- Tights. People walking in 90F in tights. Under shorts. With tank tops.

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