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I’ve had my fair share of whose-life-is-this? moments in Singapore, but this weekend was particularly bougie.

Saturday night S and I went to the Ford Supermodel of the World competition at the Ritz to support a Brazilian girlfriend of ours (2nd photo below in stripes) who fitted all the models for the swimsuit competition.  All week, S and I had been affectionately referring to the event as the “skinny bitches” party, but it turns out it didn’t feel much different from my daily life in Asia, except the girls were taller.

On Sunday a British girlfriend of mine (above in red) chartered a yacht for her 30th birthday party. Actually, I was shocked by how ridiculously affordable it was relative for what one would pay to do the same in the States.

It was all a ton of fun! We sailed out to some small islands, swam to the beach, and had a BBQ on board to celebrate A’s 30th.

It’s all a bit surreal for this nerdy research assistant from the South, who spends most of her days wearing heavy reading glasses in front of spreadsheets of obesity data.

Somebody remind me again why I decided it was a good idea to leave all this and become an impoverished graduate student…

While in Malaysia last week, I decided to try Ipoh White Coffee.

I know what you’re probably thinking as you look at the picture, and I will tell you that I too was  surprised (and slightly bummed) that the coffee was not actually white.

According to my source of knowledge for all things in the world everywhere (wikipedia), “white coffee” is a literal translation from its Chinese name, 怡保白咖啡. I have NO idea what that means.

Essentially the beans are roasted with palm-oil margarine (don’t tell Green Peace) and the resulting coffee is mixed with condensed milk.

Verdict: Way too sweet for my taste buds, although the kaya toast I ate with it was dee-licious!

Also known as the day when I was dragged on stage to shoot blowdarts with half-naked “indigenous men” [read: actors]. I blame the blonde hair.

Embarrassing video footage is forthcoming.

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Basically all you need to know is (1) that I went to an art exhibit of a bomb, shaped like a boob, and (2) I have the maturity of an 8-year-old…on a good day.

Alright, fine. So it’s not called the Boobbomb. It’s called the Lovebomb. The artist’s (Iskander Walen) intention is that you reflect on “the increasingly graphic depiction of violence in the news media and entertainment, versus the continued taboo of nudity.”

The Singaporean gallery advises visitors that the exhibit is “not suitable for children.”

Ironic? I think so.

     

Man vs. Orangutan? My money’s on the orangutan. Here’s why…

You can’t see Orangutans in the wild anywhere in the world except in Borneo and Sumatra (Indonesia) so J and I took advantage of our location and went to the Semengoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre right outside of Kuching, where you can see orangutans rehabilitated back into the wild. Outside of the centre they’re facing extinction due to habitat destruction and “human disruption.”

While I appreciated the unique opportunity to see the orangutans – I must admit I spend the better part of my morning observing the far less intelligent species: the homo sapien. No, I’ll reclassify: the homo stultus (subspecies: touristus).

Folks – when the park guide stops you before you enter the sanctuary (read: not a zoo, there are NO fences here) and gives you the following information:

  • Remain quiet at all times.
  • The orangutans like bags because they know they carry food.
  • Do NOT eat or drink in front of the orangutans.
  • A man went to the hospital on Friday because he tried to fight an orangutan for his bag.
  • If your baby starts to cry – “run” it out of the feeding area.
  • If an orangutan is chasing you, run into an open area.
  • Do not back into a corner. Also – do not freeze. They know you are not a statue.

take heed. J and I were properly scared, but it seemed the park ranger failed to effectively communicate his message to the 30 other fools in the group.

Exhibit A: Observe the homo stultus touristus in his natural habitat – communicating to his mate via mobile phone (ringtone: horrific) while his offspring clanks around the wooden planks in her turquoise kitten heels. To his left, a female homo stultus touristus feeds her offspring apple juice from her Louis Vuitton purse while behind him an asinine woman weakly pleads with her screaming infant homo stultus to “shhh.”

I was half hoping the Orangutans would sweep up some children and take them back into the wild. They probably have better parenting skills…

J and I high-tailed it out of the park before something crazy went down.

Bottom line: Don’t bring your baby to see WILD APES.

Alternatively titled, “It’s like the zoo, except for real.”

J and I took a trip to Sarawak, Malaysia (aka Borneo) over the long holiday weekend and found ourselves in the middle of Bako National Park. Ok, so we didn’t exactly “find” ourselves there – it was 90 minutes of driving, 30 minutes in a junk boat, and another 2 hours to the park center complete with midday sun, salty sweat and some true grit!

Basically it was amazing and just as exotic as Borneo sounds. While we didn’t see a lot of animals (I’m sure they all saw us), we did see some beautiful forests, beautiful jungles, beautiful beaches, and a whole lotta bugs!

***

Above: The Tajor Waterfall; Below: Taking the junk boat the park

Below: Arriving on the beach at low tide

Below: Preparing for the Telok Tajor hike. Heads up – 4 km takes 2 hours.

Below: Still relatively dry

Below: shrooms, man

Below: On the “trail”

Below: Leaving the protective shade of the forest

Below: Spiky Palm Trees

More posts and pictures from our Borneo adventure to follow! Stay tuned…

I don’t listen to a lot of Chinese music, unless it happens to be when I’m in the backseat of a smelly taxi during rush hour, jolting back and forth because Uncle decided to alternately slam the break and gas peddle in 2 second intervals. Combine that situation with the crooning voice of a Chinese woman set to cheesy, high-pitched keyboards, and you have a recipe for distaste.

I decided to ask a sweet colleague of mine for some Chinese music – good Chinese music. Surely she can’t listen to the same stuff my 70 year old cab driver is cranking out?

Well, she gave me a gem: a local artist named JJ Lim whose poppy/jazzy/acoustic melodies appeal to me. I’d thought I’d share the love with everyone else.  Happy Monday!

It’s winding down time (T-39) and there are a few items on my “Singapore Bucket List” including:

  • Go on the Night Safari
  • Visit the Red Dot Museum and Chinese Heritage Center
  • A final bike ride along East Coast Park
  • One last 3am dance party at Attica
  • Sail around the little islands of Singapore
  • Relax for a weekend in Bintan (technically the Indonesian bucket list)
  • Try Laksa – preferably at Katong Laksa
  • BONUS: Taking my picture in the infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands

Am I missing anything crucial here? Anyone interested in making these things happen?

General elections are on Saturday here, and while I’m too terrified to make any kind of political commentary, I will say that some recent headlines concerning the People’s Action Party are killing me (a la 12-year-old-boy-in-health-class style).

Pap smears…tee hee!

If you’re following the elections you probably already know that the PAP has a totally awesome superhero logo and trucks with loudspeakers that blast “messages” all over the city.  It’s like the Captain Planet of political elections.

And the Democratic party has a star trek logo. Umm… SWEET.

I can’t help but wonder how we got stuck with a donkey and an elephant. Lame, Americans, lame. Let’s get that donkey a cape or something.

Thanks, mom!

My only special request from home...

Besides you, my lovely family and friends, I’m really looking forward to being reunited with my bean grinder and French press. And of course George The Plant.

Yes, I’m the yuppie girl with the bean grinder. And yoga mat. Stop judging…

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