Singapore Adventure

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Spontaneous Combustion
by venitha

Do they in Thailand?, we laughingly wondered, as we fought the urge to strip naked just inside the door of Bangkok's MBK center and to lie on its gloriously cool tile floor, as if to make steaming snow angels. Ah, air-conditioned goodness.

Avoiding the outdoors in the hottest part of the day is definitely recommended if you wish not to be reduced to a quivering puddle of molten jell-o. Beyond that, my strong advice is to wear as little as modesty allows. Fortunately for me, all I have to overcome is the hurdle of a conservative midwestern upbringing. I don't also have the brick wall of religious dictates to lean wearily and sweatily against.

A significant minority of Singaporean women wear Muslim headdresses and yards of body-obsuring clothing. A bus ride through the Arab section of the city can easily leave me feeling considerably underdressed in just a tank top and shorts. Until, that is, I spot yet another teen-age girl flaunting a . I promise you, I am going to take a picture of this one of these days because you just can't believe it until you see it.

Tops on my list of must-be-seen-to-be-believed, however, is the woman wearing a full in the bright hot sun of the afternoon. She is completely covered from head to toe, with just a narrow slit for her eyes, in black fabric, which looks like velvet? Or maybe felt? I have witnessed this numerous times now, but I'm always left gaping in stunned disbelief, waiting for the woman to pass out, to melt, to spontaneously combust.

I am neither Muslim nor a teenager, so I thankfully don't have to choose between these two attires, but if I did, I'd go for the butt crack. And I'd be devoutly thankful for sunscreen.