1 Wedding, A Funeral, Maids & Cowgirls – Singapore: The First 8 Months – Part 2

Its been quite some time since the last real update, and this second part of the story is now almost a full year from its original time. This means the details are a little fuzzy now, and being back in the UK it all feels like a distant memory. I was of course writing this story after the event anyway, but the time when I came to writing part 2 originally, I had lost most of my will to write, the details of that will come in due time, but first I wanted to try to finish this story.


January, 2009.
For the most part it was very quiet, I was at work all the time, even doing some over time to earn a little extra, and had little time for anything else. My new apartment was awesome, and I was simply enjoying some quiet living and slowly organising things. My good friend and colleague from work, who had originally offered me a place at his apartment was having difficulties however, the AC was terrible, the windows had gaps and the chance of keeping the place chilled was imposable. To cut a long story short – literally – I simply offered the same deal, move into my spare room. This worked out very handy for us both, my friend was caught “praying” to the ac unit several times, citing the cooling power as the reasoning, and was instantly happier by it. This meant his extensive art collection could finally leave the sealed air tight box it had been in since his arrival in Singapore. For me, it meant a friend close by, and half the rent paid for. Something I was very thankful for.

I forget now the exact date, so I will drop it in here, but my friend also had a nasty accident one evening, and while trying to avoid some fellow pedestrians who would not yield some pavement space, slipped and fell into a drainage ditch which was obscured by vegetation. These ditches come in various sizes all over Singapore, and are fully open and uncovered concrete ravines. Some are small “leg breakers” like the one my friend found, which are about 2 feet deep and just wide enough to get a leg inside, others can be the size of a canal. They are quite frankly a menace and a disaster waiting to happen, and leaving such things totally unguarded, uncovered and right next to walk ways is insane. My Friend suffered a rather nasty injury to his lower leg and knee, and this injury still causes him much discomfort even now, over a year later. The cause of this however is not down to the original injury, but due to the poor medical care he received. After seeing many doctors, all which turned out to be extremely incompetent, he went in for surgery on his knee. As both of us were with the same company, we had medical cover, or so we thought. They constantly argued over this and kept trying to find every way out of paying up. This caused a lot of tension between us and our company, as they also failed to help sufficiently. When I had some other medical issues, although very minor, the amount of paper work and initial refusal to cover the costs caused much disagreement and argument with the company as well. The insurance did however finally pay up for mine, and I believe my friend did get his paid for, however his injury, and the incompetence of the doctors who made it worse, still plagues him – he may well be unable to have full use of his leg ever again. I wont cover this in full, as I will leave it to him for a much better story.

February and the Chinese New Year.
Chinese greet the new Lunar year in February, and this meant the whole city was decorated for the occasion. The only problem however is that the town almost shuts down. Just like over the western new year, wonder the evening streets and you half expect to see tumble weeds rolling around. The late evening is a different matter in the tourist areas however, as that’s yet another excuse for a party. Singapore is an awesome place if you love night life, in comparison to the UK, I have totally lost interest the UK nightlife, its boring, its over crowded, often dangerous and its all over by 2am. Singapore is a 24/7 place, you can go out at anytime, and pretty much stay there until when you went in the next day. In the tourist areas venues are often open to 6 or 7am, you may need to move around places a bit, but its not a problem as the transport is so cheap.

A few weeks later came my birthday, I’d planned to host it at Cosafe as my friends would be around and its close to the office. Following several attempts to remind my coworkers of the invite, it came down the final day with no one confirming. I made my way down there with my friend and flat mate and had some drinks waiting for anyone who might turn up. My friends at Cosafe were of course there, but the only person who arrived from the office was my boss. He made a nice gesture of paying for a couple of rounds before dashing off, however this may have been down to a bit of a guilty conscience as no one else had arrived, and partly due to some other disagreements which where starting to emerge in the company, however I wouldn’t know any of this until much later. It appears my relationship with my coworkers was not as good as I had thought, as not a single one of them turned up by the end of the evening.

The Wedding
My dear friend Desmond and Willow had invited me and Stephan to his wedding celebration at the Raffles Town Club. A very splendid and tasteful venue, and it gave us a hint as to what was coming. Desmond is of course well known in the local F&B circles with his own catering business, so this wedding celebration was also a chance to demonstrate his abilities. Top chefs from all over were invited, a big local DJ was hired as the MC and lots of people from restaurants and F&B circles were present, including some old friends from Cosafe. The evening was planned down to the finest detail, and although our assigned table was apparently overbooked by 10 people, we did finally get ourselves seated. One of the most impressive aspects was the delivery of the first course. The lights of the ball room were lowered, and in perfect procession some 100 waiters came in with candle lit dishes to stand by each table, and then lower them to the centre in time with the others. It was a grand display of perfect service, and set the elegant tone for the rest of the evening with a tradditional Chinese meal, I forget how many courses were served, but it was certainly a lot. My best wishes for a long happy marriage and continued prosperity for them both and the business.

The story will continue in part 3 soon…

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