Summer Days Before Departure

Days in this week before departure (I return to London on Friday night), and how I’m spending them. Actually pretty boring for anyone who isn’t me, but I’m documenting it here just because.

Friday: lunch with friends from debating past at the Taman Serasi hawker centre, which meant that there was shade, and defiant breeziness, and views of mostly green through the gaps in the roofing (and this is always a good thing when the mostly green in question is trees), and satay and chicken rice and soursop juice, and Yuping haranguing Fengyuan (“Non-threatening! That’s what all you guys ultimately want, a girl who’s non-threatening!”), and terrible jokes (“A termite walks into a bar and asks, ‘Is the bartender here?'” – Jolene. “Girl runs into a police station and says ‘I’ve been graped! I’ve been graped!’ Policeman says, ‘Don’t you mean raped?’ ‘No, there were a bunch of them.'” – Yuping. “Girl runs into a police station and says ‘I’ve been reaped! I’ve been reaped!’ Policeman says, ‘Don’t you mean raped?’ ‘No, he used a scythe.'” – Me) and a discussion stemming from Dworkin’s writings on abortion, and all this continued into the gazebo next to the lake in the Botanic Gardens where there was cramming on bench and perching on railings, a fleeing couple and a fleeting swan, and Yuping and otherMichelle and I all agreed that we own way too many strappy tops.

Later, me and Yuping in absolute geekness in front of the big screen at Lido, infra-red-frenzied handhelds and bubble tea on the table, Yuping playing newly-beamed Dope Wars, getting the stares that any conversation about the game gets in public (“Okay, so what’s a good price for heroin?”…”I personally don’t bother with Ecstasy, it’s small potatoes”…”YES!!! COCAINE BUST!!”), and eventually I went home for dinner with family and Return Of The Jedi with Mum.

Saturday: lunch with Kevin, who I hadn’t seen for two and a half years, poetry reading at Kinokuniya by folks from the2ndrule, girlie shopping with Edlyn who blew me away with her knowledge of slingbacks (Note to self: slingbacks=shoes, silverbacks=gorillas, don’t get mixed up) and Italian straps and other fashionista jargon, and home in good time for dinner with family again, which I was glad about, because I do rather love them.

Sunday: a day of relaxed excess. Mass celebrated by an Irish priest whose severe mumbling didn’t prevent my usual reaction of “I have no idea what you’re saying, but damn, it sounds wonderful” to the accent, shopping with wonderful mum who bought me THREE pairs of shoes and lots of other miscellany, and then I decided to cook dinner for everyone (tricolore fusilli with chicken fillet pieces, peppers, onions and sweetcorn in tomatoey-olivey sauce, stir-fried cabbage with freshly ground black pepper and bacon bits), then White Teeth until The Phantom Menace and Bejeweled addiction (damn you, Yuping) till bedtime.

Monday: Lazy comfortable afternoon with Pei Ee, buying each other birthday presents, dinner with Terry at scattered places, a day of long meandering conversations and conversational ranges from ephemeral to weighty, rainy day with skies that reminded me of London but rain that was unmistakably tropical in its intensity and MUAHAHAHAness.

Tuesday: Limbo snoozing for most of the morning, lunch with Luke and Ida, which involved much maligning of Luke’s badminton coach dress sense and hyena laugh, ridiculing of Ida’s rebranding herself as vestal virgin, and some very expensive bubble tea. Dinner with Jacinta and Poonam at the East Coast beach, although in the midst of girlie catching up we never got round to actually going to the beach. We headed home at eleven – it was time for Gilmore Girls.

Wednesday: Futile afternoon trudging on pre-departure errands, dinner with Rafflesian girlfriends Jiawen, May and Gwen at the distinctly untrendy but truly lovely Chomp Chomp hawker centre at Serangoon, barbecued stingray, sambal sotong (loosely translated to chillied squid, but trust me, a lot is lost in translation. Slurp.), chai dao kuey (carrot cake, but not the sort the Western world is used to, this one’s oily and fried and wonderful.) and satay (strips of flame-cooked meat), under stars that were hard to see because of the lights of the estate, getai (cheesy Chinese singing) and auctioneering (both events which take place in housing estates during the Hungry Ghosts Festival, which is nowish) blaring from nearby, but in the midst of all this sensory overload a feeling of happy contentment, dessert in the distinctly trendier Big Apple Cafe where May made pompoms out of shredded serviettes and Jiawen did strange things with the window blinds and Gwen and I sat there and laughed.