1 Wedding, A Funeral, Maids & Cowgirls – Singapore: The Final 90 Days Part 2 (End)

This is the last part of the final chapter on my story of living in Singapore as an Expat in 2008-9, this one is a bit long as well, and there’s still no pictures but I wanted to at least finish it.

Crazy Horse
I really disliked Crazy Horse even before the event below, its in Orchard Towers just up and over from CJ’s, but its too loud, dark, very over crowded, expensive and full of very agressive lady boys, its just not a nice atmosphere, I much prefer the more easy going CJs. Therefore, as a general rule I wouldn’t go there and had only been a couple of times since being in Singapore, and that was only due to friends insisting on going in. One night I was in CJs, and our usual group had kind of split up – some wanted to go to Ipanema for a while, another went to meet someone and so we were down to only about 3 of us, 2 of which wanted to go to Crazy Horse. I didn’t, but I decided to follow anyway. While in there for a while I got a bill for my drinks, but I discovered I had been charged for a drink I didn’t order. I went up to the bar to attempt to discuss it with a manager, it was noisy in there and me and one of the staff went outside to discuss. He was not interested or helpful at all, and instead of being professional he just started being difficult. Then without any warning, one of the doormen took a swing at me and punched me right in the face, the force sent me flying back into the wall some 4ft behind me. Considering I was actually leaning forward onto their desk type thing at the time and that I’m over 6ft and quite on the heavy side, that was quite a hit. As there were 5 of them now waiting for a fight, I was clearly not going to attempt taking them on and I just got up and walked off. It was at this point that I noticed that my shirt was wet, looked down and it was covered in blood.

I had felt the impact on my face of course, but hadn’t realised he’d broken my nose, which was now pouring blood all over the place. I walked down the steps and went over to the doorman of Ipanema, hes a friend and instantly reacted to seeing my blood covered self wondering over. He called the police and an ambulance. It was just a bloody nose, but dam did it look bad, there was blood everywhere, all over my shirt, all over my jeans (remember I had landed on the floor and so it dripped down) and it must have looked liked it been stabbed or something. An Ambulance arrived in a matter of minutes and I had my nose checked for a broken bridge and they seemed satisfied it wasn’t too bad, and then I had to give a long account to the police. All this commotion had brought people out to see what had happened, as is typical in the towers any kind of incident is of interest, even though something happens to someone almost weekly. From the police’s perspective they didn’t know who to believe, you had a business Vs a random foreigner. It was about this time that the owner of CJ’s came out to see what had happened and saw me. He went and set the record straight with the police, I’m a regular and not a violent yob etc, and he gave me a drink on the house. I spent a while longer in CJs and we had a chat about Crazy Horse, it seems they have a habit of ripping off customers and getting violent, and its a regular occurrence to have the police there, apparently they once narrowly escaped being shutdown. After my nose finally stopped bleeding I went home.

It was a couple days before I actually ventured out again, I had been expecting a massive black eye, but it never really came up, my face was quite swollen but it had mostly gone down, I went over to Stephan’s house and we just sat around chatting about nothing and the towers in general while playing PS3. At this point I was feeling a bit down and fed up, chances of a new job were none now, only a couple weeks left on my visa, money was tight and I’d just had a crappy night out with a bloody nose to boot. It was at this point where I’d pretty much had enough of Singapore and decided its probably better to heading home anyway. I set the day for the packing of my stuff and booked my flight, one-way back to London. The last week was quiet, just some time spent in a few favourite places and a final trip to CJ’s to finish off the bottle they had been keeping. In Singapore, its cheaper to buy a bottle of the drink you like, and they keep it behind the bar and serve your drinks from that each time until it runs out. They keep them for a month or longer if your a regular. This was quite a benefit for me in the final months, as I simply finished off what I had already paid for and meant I wasn’t wasting the last of my money going out drinking.

The Final Insult
Crown were coming tomorrow morning to pack my stuff, I had to clean the apartment and pack, I was giving the landlord the keys back first thing the next day and my flight was in the afternoon. That’s when the call came, a recruiter had managed to not only find me a role, but also the company had seen my CV already and really wanted to meet me, the recruiter wanted to arrange an interview. I told them its too late, as I’m moving tomorrow, and made a joke that unless they decide today, I’d already be moved out. The recruiter didn’t give up tho, they called the company and then called me back, offering to interview tomorrow, and decide the same day. For a minute, I really considered it, but then reality came to me – what would be the point? I’d booked relocation and the flight, they weren’t going to take too kindly to canceling on the moving day and I’d probably still be charged. The flight I could move in theory, but I was out of time on my visa as well. It would be a lot of hassle to try to make it work, and the luck I’d been having with interviews and no calls after combined with my recent bad luck, I decided to not bother. I was going home to the UK, and now its final.

Having cleaned up the apartment and moved out, I spent the final night at Stephan’s house in one of his many spare rooms. First thing I had to take a taxi to the old apartment, and hand back the keys and see my estate agent before I left. Time was quite tight, and I had to jump back in a taxi again to go straight to the airport. The flight back was uneventful, but long. London was freezing cold, but I was back, and made my way to my parents house. The moment I was back in the airport at London, it did feel a bit sad, I would miss Singapore, but mostly I would miss the good times I had with all the people and friends that I met out there. Now I just had to wait for my stuff to arrive.

I had chosen Crown to relocate my things back to the UK as they did a great job of taking it out there, sadly their counterparts in Singapore were not as good. They insisted on packing up the boxes in a wooden crate, which then caused issues in the UK. Apparently Crown don’t use their own people in the UK and instead sent it to a third party freight company. The freight company refused to deliver it to my home and instead would only deliver the huge wooden crate to the side of the road. The driver made a huge fuss about trying to get into the driveway, he broke one of my parent’s trees and then gave up and drove back out. He then unloaded the crate onto a trolley, pushed it into the gravel drive and then abandoned it, saying ‘that’s delivered, sign here’ we refused to sign it and said its not delivered until its to our door as agreed. He just left. Then it started to rain. We had to rush to try to break into the huge wooden crate, and take all the boxes out and run then into the house. We managed to get them all in, but in the process my farther stepped on one of the parts of the crate, sending a 3inch nail into his foot. He pulled it out, but he was in agony for ages and couldn’t walk on it for days. We complained to Crown, who did nothing and didn’t even bother to reply to our follow up mails. As far as the items inside, not a single breakage, just a shame they used a bunch of idiots on the UK side.

Thats the final part, my take on the Expat life. Not everything was covered, good or bad, but that would take more words than I want to put down, and this took way longer to finsih than I had ever intended. I want to say that I really enjoyed living out in Singapore, the hard times always feel worse at the time than later, especially as memories fade, but would I do it again? Yes! For sure. There were bad times, but oh so many good ones, ones that I’ll never forget. Theres things I’d love to be able to share, but there too personal, too embarrasing or only funny if your there, but thats life.

Site Back

Anyone who actually reads this may have noticed the sites been offline for awhile, this was due to a hd failure on the server and we lost the DB. An old copy has been restored, but it seems a few little bits are now broken. These will eventaully get fixed…maybe 🙂

HSBC aka The International?

HSBC, the  Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation Highly Sh*t Banking Corporation, is by far the worst bank for customer service and unfair charges I have had the misfortune of dealing with. From doing some very limited research, it would appear I am not alone, and further still this tidelwave of complaints is world wide. Therefore, it begs the question if the people behind “The International” were thinking of HSBC when they wrote that move concept.

The USA:
The UK:
Final Insult:
HSBC shrugs off CEO pay complaints: US$37M pact irks investors.
Staff Memo Leaked
Advice & Solution:
Suggestion on filing public complaints about HSBC
Fight the unfair bank charges
And Finally, The Movie

Moving Day

Finally today marked the day I moved into my new apartment in TanJong Pagar, and finally can get some peace. After I unpack my shipment that is. And sort out some food for the kitchen. And get the inventory done. And arrange an internet connection…