Settling

It takes a couple of weeks to unpack, say some of our friends who’ve also had the good fortune to change their surroundings once every couple of years. And we’re still settling in, moving things around the house because Jake the Cat has been displaying his acrobatic prowess by leaping from shelf top to fridge top and toppling some things we’ve put up there and breaking them.

Tomorrow the plumber-electrician guy comes over to fix some glaring defects in our apartment which somehow weren’t so glaring before we signed the lease.

There’ll be more. Curtain Guy comes over some time next week, hopefully, and we’re expecting a third visit from Starhub Guy because the ingterneck connection is seriously fucked up.

Oh, and Naomi and I have the flu.

What’s going on?

It’s like we’ve been in hiding with all this moving shit. We’ve hardly read the news, and although we know about the major calamities that have struck, it still feels a bit strange that when we’ve started venturing outside of our apartment (both old and new), the country seems to have changed a fair bit.

First, every second 7-Eleven and petrol station cashier / pump attendant seems to sport a PRC (Mainland or whatever you call them) accent, and every second waiter / supermarket cashier sports a Flipino accent.

Multiply that by the number of petrol stations, supermarkets and cafes in Singapore and you’ll have come up with a very rough but very large number of PRC (Mainland Chinese) and Filipinos working in Singapore.

I don’t know about you, but I feel it wasn’t like that, say, six months ago?

Maybe that’s why there was an apparent recent push to un-Pinyinise Chinese names in schools. We don’t want our kids to be mistaken for Mainland Chinese working at petrol stations and Chinese restaurants, do we?

Seriously Hossan

My best friend Hossan is going to perform at the Esplanade (again) on the 27th and 28th (and extra show on the 29th because of popular demand) of this month. So, even if you’ve something better to do (which I doubt, because it’s Hossan performing at the Esplanade), get your tickets fast, and book yourself in for a treat.

late-nite-hossan.gif

Since the morning that we came

Pensive Mac
Mac’s settled in easiest – as long as he’s got his cushion, he’s sweet

As with any new premises, there are things to get used to. But to call them teething problems would mean this apartment has more teeth than it was supposed to.

There are however, nicer things.

In the carpark, between the parking lots, are fruit trees. Mangoes and rambutans, and the other day, an Indonesian maid from an apartment spirited a ripe pineapple back to her employer’s apartment. (I knew she was Indonesian because she yelled “Mum, ada pineapple” as she cradled the pineapple up the block.)

Walking Mac the Dog has been a good way to acquaint ourselves with our new neighbourhood, and we now know that we have a cleaner who knows everything and everyone in the compound, and we have the best security guard the landlord’s maintenance fees can buy.

In the best martial traditions of a Gurkha, he sits, unmoved by anything and I mean anything, in the guardhouse, all day, except during lunch hours. The night guard is even better. He’s a sorta stealth operator, and we haven’t seen him since we’ve moved in. Intruders, be warned.

The cleaner, now he’s a character, has been really helpful, telling me things (in Hokkien) like, “Wah, you damn suay, your apartment on the top floor on that side of the building, furthest from the refuse point, you didn’t know there wasn’t a refuse chute did you? Raining you die”.

On our second morning here, we had a reasonably long conversation in Hokkien, halfway through which he said, “You know, It is a pity not many people will know how to speak Hokkien in a generation or two. A real pity”.

Then a Caucasian woman walked past us, and he yelled, “Bonjour!”

As she tripped and responded with not as much gusto, he turned to me and said, “There are a lot of Frenchies here, so I learned a bit”.

At that point, both Mac and I felt like breaking into song.