East Coast Afternoon

The weather’s been moody the past week with sulks and squalls every now and then, and on Saturday in the car on the way to Pasir Ris every drop of rain seemed to think it was a kamikaze pilot seeking final glorious death on the windscreen, but yesterday, yesterday it was breathtakingly sunny, and I got lured outdoors.

The Marine Parade library’s one of the best ways to enjoy a beautiful day – tall glass walls let the light in, but air-conditioning and frappucinos protect you from the heat. On a Monday afternoon you escape the Sunday crowds, but there are just enough people to give it a contented buzz, more than enough comfy chairs to go round, and no queue at the Starbuck’s. I was disciplined and kept my four book limit in mind when scouring the shelves, instead of the way I usually end up staggering around with over ten books, most of which I later have to discard sadly, and settled down happily for the next two hours or so.

Final choices: The Passion (Jeanette Winterson), The Eye In The Door (Pat Barker), and the Lonely Planet guide to Turkey. I still had Let’s Go Greece 2001 on my card from two weeks ago, so that made four.

While waiting for the bus, I took a patriotic picture – the walkway in the public housing estate was festooned with flags in preparation for National Day, which is on 9 August. Lately our public housing estates have been looking more and more like condominiums, but the old building in this one does actually correspond with more typical ideas of “public housing”.

At my bus stop I decided it was still too pretty outside to go home, and walked to Katong Shopping Centre for black economy delights. If you’re Singaporean, you’ll know what I mean by this. If you’re not, let’s just say that in certain stores here they sell lots of flat shiny things with lots of other people’s intellectual/artistic property on them for very low prices. At least, that’s what I go there to buy. I daresay the middle-aged men in certain sections of the shops trying to conceal their salivation and callused right hands were after pleasures neither intellectual nor artistic.

I took the long way home, walking along the entrance to the expressway, and was conveniently informed that when I leave here for London on August 31, it’ll only take me 9 minutes to get to the airport. I love this home, but I still can’t wait to get back to that one.