The Tyranny Of Distance

So Alec arrived on Friday, and this is how we spent the weekend.

Friday: Dinner and drinks at the beach (Peperoni, then Beach Hut).

Saturday: Hainanese chicken rice for lunch, siesta, meandering frivolously through Far East Plaza, quick dinner in the fabulous Plaza Singapura food court before watching The Sea Inside.

Sunday: Wakeboarding (attempts) at Punggol, curry lunch at the Banana Leaf place on Ceylon Road, siesta, Mass, Eurasian dinner at Casa Bom Vento, Tiger Cup support (YAY!) over beer/stout/pork scratchings.

Perhaps you wonder – after a year and a half of long distance, they’re finally reunited for the foreseeable future, and that’s how they spend their first weekend together again? Sounds pretty much like how any couple in Singapore would spend any weekend, doesn’t it? Where be the lavish celebrations?

The thing is, the best thing about this weekend was precisely its total normality. The most unnatural thing about long distance relationships – where time differences, telecommunications costs, and fleeting holidays rigidly define your time together – is how difficult it can become sometimes to just enjoy the moment without feeling the pressure to make the most of it.

Normal couples enjoy luxuries, perhaps without even realizing it, that we haven’t really had for one and a half years. Wasting an afternoon away napping. Good night kisses. Being able to do things which are totally devoid of local cultural merit, instead of feeling guilty that Alec’s spending holiday time in the exotic Orient watching a European arthouse film in an air-conditioned mall cinema. Making whatever stupid remark we think of at the time we think of it rather than having to try and remember it for later. After a while of this I’m sure we’ll start missing our trendy London Shoreditch twatness again, but for now we’re just happy being heartlanders together in Katong. (Don’t worry, I won’t lose my edge. To prove it the title of this post is yet another indiegeeky music reference.)

And going back to stupid remarks, here are Alec and Michelle Reunited’s hard-hitting views on the profound issues encountered in our first weekend back together.

On Modesty
Me: I’m a bit doubtful about this bikini, what if it shifts when I fall in and I don’t realize it’s given way?
Alec: You’ll realize pretty soon.

On Acronyms
(Alec is considering volunteering at Riding For The Disabled)
Alec: What’s the web address again? RCA dot com dot sg?
Me: Um, I think that would be RDA. Given that it is called Riding for the Disabled and not Riding for the Cisabled.

On Fiscal Discipline
Me: Okay, so apart from wakeboarding tomorrow and swing camp in February, we’ll have a frugal lifestyle with no other extravagances. Right?
Alec: Except if something really good comes up.
Me: Exactly.


  1. Here I am Tamara,

    I’m sitting at Michelle’s desk examining recruitment sites, wasting time on the internet and chatting with Michelle’s mum, whilst my poor girlfriend slaves away in the office till rediculously late at night. I’m avoiding the temptation to switch on MTV. I’d feel too much of a cad if Michelle collapsed into the house whilst I was lying on a sofa watching an MTV reporter being shown around Usher’s blinging mansion.

    As Michelle descibed above, ours was a fairly low key reunion. Michelle has put a good spin on it all but I can’t help feeling a bit guilty. Big events should be celebrated. The ending of a year and a half apart warrants a little drama, some romance, yet my dull mood seems more oppresive than the afternoon humidity. Always in the back of my mind is the worry over finding work. Its mostly pride I guess but I also hate the process of selling myself on application forms. In interviews the process is as pleasurable as flirting, but on paper I feel like a prostitute.

    Its stupid to let my pessimism get the better of me, but it has. So I look forward to finding a respectable job then launching into celebration mode. Kissing my girlfriend goodnight, siestas, wasted afternoons, inconsequential conversations, so much to look forward to, so much that warrants a raccous party.

    “…weekend trips to batam, bintan, cibu, etc?”

    Are you suggesting Tamarra, that I should take Michelle on pointless long weekends to nearby islands just to be away from her parents supervision, just so I can act Jack the Lad whilst possing as an interested tourist. Shame on you!

    Michelle and I are only interested in travel that enriches the soul and broadens the mind. That’s why we’re staying on far away Sentosa for the duration of the lindy dance camp.

  2. Welcome Alec!!! =) When are we gonna meet up?

    Anyway, you should be fine finding a job. I think Singapore values whiz at numbers/statistics than teacher for under-privileged kids. bah. Oh well.

    And am sure you’ll still treasure the kissing girlfriend goodnight, siestas, wasted afternoons, inconsequential conversations. I’ve had it for the past 2 years and am still valuing every single moment. and that’s how you celebrate it everyday…=D *cheesy grin*

  3. Hi Alec,

    Welcome back to sunny (hmm … more like rainy) Singapore!

    By the way, I told David about your move here and he told me to tell you he hates you *grinz*. Nah, we’re both happy that your LDR ordeal is over.

    Mine on the other hand …. I have to stick with it for one more year. *sigh*

    We must meet up. call me soon.

  4. Kelly, I think it’s just a matter of what Singapore really needs. With all respect to a very noble vocation, I’m not sure there’s as much of a need for it here, unless you’re talking about teaching special needs kids – but I assume he’d need a specific qualification for that. Why not just broaden his job horizons? Teaching is a noble vocation whoever you’re teaching.

    Tamara: Would rather go to Sibu again than bother with Bintan or Batam. Am not really that into island getaways, unless there’s more to offer than a beach and touristy stuff. TAKE ME TO CUBA PLEASE ALEC!

  5. Oh he’s definitely broadening his job horizons. Jumping from teaching to modeling for electronics and now possibly a beer ad and a L’oreal show is quite a stretch. :) He is keeping in touch with a tuition job (yay) and hopefully more in the future.

    What I’m complaining about is more that there -are- problem kids out there in SG that need help and attention that he can give, but SG is not willing to provide work permits for that because it won’t pay enough for an employment pass and they are too stringent on work permits. etc.

  6. Damn it, we were going to Cuba…. I’m going to have to stop reading your site, otherwise I’m going to get paranoid I’m stealing all your ideas and that I’m not cool on my own.

    Hope you’re having fun, or not having fun but still happy, and all that.

  7. I just surfed to the swingapore link. looks pretty cool. how happy r u with their services? I’m guessing you take all your classes there?

  8. Kelly: I’ve been at Jitterbugs (minus England time) since 2000, and wouldn’t consider dancing anywhere else. It’s a little more expensive than learning at the YMCA, but having danced with people who learnt at YMCA, I think the Jitterbugs teaching is far superior.

    I have some social complaints about the community at Jitterbugs – many of the advanced dancers are cliquish and don’t dance with anyone except their friends, but there are enough nice people there for me to get by fairly happily these days.

    Plus, lindy hop is the coolest, most fun dance in the world. :) It almost always gives me more enjoyment than all but the best club nights I’ve ever been to.

Comments are closed.