Singapore Adventure

Friday, January 14, 2005

How long will it take....
by venitha

The whole time we were in Singapore, Jim and I kept saying "I wonder how long it will take us to ...," and I thought I'd record some of those. Hopefully we'll read through this list at some later date and be able to feel a sense of accomplisment.

So, how long will it take us to…

…get completely used to using chopsticks? I kept setting them down while I was eating and then I’d have to think and spend time readjusting them when I picked them back up. Of course, many places have forks and spoons (big scoop spoons for noodle-bowl-type dishes), but knives and, inexplicably, napkins are very rare.

…understand Singlish (Singaporean English) with ease? Yes, everyone speaks English, but, well, people can be quite difficult to understand, which really makes me wonder what Jim and I sound like to them. Timo, a friend of a friend who has lived in Singapore for three years now, explained to us three major differences between the English that we speak and the English that most Singaporeans speak: 1) No plurals. Three spring roll. Twenty minute. 2) No articles and few prepositions. I am engineer. I live Yishun. 3) No verb tenses. We shop tomorrow. In addition, there’s also thing sing-song-y (no pun intended) quality to the way they speak that I suspect will start to affect the way that we speak in no time at all. I'm very susceptible to picking up accents and even the speech mannerisms of people I spend a lot of time with, so this could be pretty entertaining.

…adjust to the humid climate? Not that this is necessarily totally possible, but many people, including native Coloradoans, told us that it was very cold in Singapore last week, and we did indeed see many people wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and jackets (along with lots of women quite scantily-clad, and they can’t ALL have been prostitutes). This is somewhat alarming given that it seemed pretty darn hot and humid to us. We laughed that both of us, each time we came back to our hotel room, immediately started taking off our clothes! I kept thinking that it had to have been a climate like Singapore's that inspired muumuus.

…get used to walking so much? Obviously, in an urban environment, we’re going to be walking a lot more than we’re currently used to, and we both had pretty sore feet and near shin splints from traipsing all over the city this past week. Everyone wears sandals, most of which look uncomfortable to wear, let alone to walk in for miles.

…get used to the metric system and Singapore Dollars (called ‘sing’). Kg’s to pounds, km’s to miles, S$'s to US $'s. Trying to determine relative prices at the grocery store (1.79 S$ for 100g) was a bit much for our jet-lagged minds. Fun to think that we’ll get used to these new standards of measurement and stop converting everything in our minds.