It’s been almost two months since I landed my ass in SG. So, what’s up?
I’m still a foreigner living in a HBD unit in Choa Chu Kang. I sleep in a comfortable air-conditioned room of a married couple who, with the kindest of hearts, accommodated me. I am deeply thankful especially to Lee for the patience and for condoning the not-so-sweet-sounding snuffles that I create when I am asleep.
Living technically alone and far-flung from my loved ones isn’t so easy sometimes. I wash my own clothes and deal with the irate washing machine every Wednesday just before the 7 P.M. sunset. I have no one to embrace when the night is cold but myself and my camouflage blanket. Despite having new acquaintances of different shapes and races, there’s really no one to talk to about certain topics and secluded moot points when the only persons close to me are at work. I sometimes engage into some country-related palaver when Filipinas approach me in the streets. I eat solo 60% of the time like a stranger with no one to share my food with.
During my vacant minutes, I browse trending videos in YouTube and often watch old yet “comprehensive” Pinoy flicks starring the Viva Hot Babes and the new one with Yam Concepcion. At the same time, on the other tab, online job hunting is what makes me mostly occupied. I have reconciled with my ex named “Lina” and I got involved in furtive affairs with more huntresses. I am always on the look for an employer who will, by his own accord, apply me a work pass.
Pimples are still my skin’s frequent visitors. I have flare outs now and then though below the average quantity. So I therefore conclude that the Singapore air is somehow less-polluted than Manila’s. When I’m picking my nose, the dried mucus is surprisingly lighter in color. Holy booger! I’m literally living clean here too. I change my clothes almost every other day. I only brought like five shirts though Neil lent me some of his old garments so my favorite apparel won’t worn out fast. Most of the borrowed shirts are exactly my size but some just don’t fit me.
Speaking of “fit”, that word doesn’t considerably describe me physically. But I am really trying my best to lose weight. I’m taking a whack to shake off the bulge beneath my growing man-boobs. Playing around 75 kilograms isn’t that scary. I mean, I can still see my dick when I stand straight naked and look down at it. But every time I step on that weighing scale, there’s this apparent ambivalence that disturbs me. I don’t know if I am eating too much here or I just have lesser activities nowadays.
The Choa Chu Kang vicinity is a very conducive place for jogging and to do some fat-burning routines though I just consider traveling as my primary means of exercise. MRT stairs and footbridges are definitely my work-out companions. Oh, we still haven’t used the badminton set that Lee bought in Chinatown. Or maybe I should go back to cereals.
After the last two paragraphs, I still don’t consider myself health conscious. I still smoke and I’ve tried a lot of cigarette brands available here: Pall Mall, Next, iScore, Garam Gudang to name a few. Although a bit expensive, Marlboro is still the undisputed champ in flavor and when it comes to supplying my lungs with the right amount of tar and nicotine. It’s not really an achievement but I somehow limited myself to 5 (to 7) sticks a day. S$11.50 a pack is a very severe damage.
Given the certainty that I am wont to be 10 to 15 kilo lighter, I won’t deny the very fact that I love to eat. Not that restricted, but I can honestly say that I am disciplined on my meals. Extra rice is rarely a part of my system now. I have been staying here for eight weeks so I’m already used to the food. I have my favorites and I know where not to buy grubs. Neil and Lee have this constant effort to occasionally cook despite their very busy schedule. These are the times that my tongue can feast on the homegrown delicacies that make me feel at home like Binagoongan, Munggo, Adobo. Beef with Ampalaya, Talong, Giniling, Champorado, Tuyo etc.
We go to church once in a while. Yes, you definitely read it right and though I’ve witnessed a Catholic mass (Singapore-style) about two times, I am more fond of staying inside the prayer room. It is the only specific place where I can deeply feel the much-needed tranquility. I am not a religious person, I don’t really pray, and I am not really the “When all else fails, try god” kind of man but in that spot in Bukit Batok, I can silently reflect about my life. I can internally view my frustrations and little achievements. I can examine and balance my desperation, good vibes, sadness, delight, excitement, and faith to the world. There, I create my abstruse weekly stratagem to beat the negative thoughts that reality is feeding me.
I’m not afraid. I believe that I am the one who’s making the whole depiction of what will happen. I just answer the circumstances that the world asks everyday. I am not afraid of losing, though I hate it. I am not afraid to fail and to learn my lessons through my mistakes.
I teach ukulele in a newly opened music centre inside a rundown mall in Katong. Next week, I will start teaching piano, guitar, and bass guitar. (Yes, seriously, bass guitar). Being a teacher is a great thing. Contrary to other’s weak surmise, it’s not that redundant. Teaching is indeed a good job. Eventhough you are required to get better together with your students, you will not feel obligated because you really want to get better. Get it? Teaching is learning. Everyday you will surely grasp something new from your own lectures and also from your students.
Not connected with that, they say that you cannot fully experience a country if you won’t learn its culture. I’ve already explored the food, studied the political and religious system (which I won’t tackle here), and now I am starting to perceive one of the local languages. I know, life is too short to learn Chinese, but there’s no harm in doing some little research about the common phrases used in the everyday situations.
Some locals think that foreigners are so intelligent. Thank you. They are ducks that always expect monkeys to understand their quack-quacks.
I learned that some people here are considerate. When I am standing idly on the right side of the escalator, people say: “Goon kai!” (Excuse me, mister. Please.) They are very respectful indeed.
When I can’t understand the bus guide in the terminals, I ask questions with a smile.
Excuse me, is bus number 36 going to the Orchard Road?
Ni boo huay do maa ben. Dan!
(Well, certainly. Good job!)
Very polite, aren’t they?
When I am in a place that is “under the radar”, I am still careful so I often ask:
Excuse me, can I smoke here?
Dang ran! Bu chi, wo ba bu de ni bei jing cha zua.
(Yes, that’s the right place to smoke, cute foreigner.)
They are very humane and helpful to strangers.
Anyway, it’s time to go. I have to do something important. See you when I see you.