I usually visit Singapore once a year. I was just there last August, but my Schengen days were running out and there were absolutely no good non-Schengen options for the Winter. In Europe. So when my Dad suggested going to Singapore for Chinese New Year, I said hey why not.
My month in Singapore flew by. It was nice seeing extended family and distant relatives who I only see once a year, if at all. I also had a close friend visit, and it was fun showing her my “home country”, especially with the Chinese New Year festivities going on. Another highlight definitely was meeting and spending time with my “godson”, who just turned 4 months old.
I have some gripes with Singapore. People don’t give way on the subway. The mother of said “godson”, while very pregnant, stood for an hour on the subway without a single person offering her their seat.
Singapore is also not very empathetic towards allergies. One day I went to a “cai fan” stall, where I could pick a few dishes to have with rice. I noticed one dish had peanuts, and of course there weren’t separate serving spoons. On another trip, a hawker had forgotten that I asked for no peanuts on my Pad Thai. He asked if I could “just remove them.” I then left since he did not seem keen on making another. Are they less considerate because allergies are less common there?
Singaporeans also tend to be materialistic. The friend who was visiting asked me, “was it you who always wanted a Louis Vuitton bag?” I said yes, but I don’t anymore.
I think I was partly influenced by living in Singapore and having fashionable friends. But since going nomadic, I’ve learned and embraced minimalism. 😇🙏🏼 I also believe that we have the freedom to nurture the qualities that we want to. For example, you can let competitiveness drive you, and become a workaholic. You can let that define you.
2.5 weeks into my trip a close friend told me she sensed my “almost impatience.” That’s when I know it’s time to leave Singapore. That the crowds, disorder, and discourtesy have gotten to me. The consumerism, the texting while walking… But it’s also an opportunity to practice patience, and to nurture the patience into kindness.
Cue a line from one of my favourite hymns:
Loving and forgiving are You, O Lord; slow to anger, rich in kindness, loving and forgiving are You.
- A peg alphabet set. So old school, so good. I found it at my grandma’s, bought an ink pad, and have been using it in my journal.
- Veteran nomad Melissa Ng and how much we have in common. I first cold emailed Melissa on behalf of a client sometime last year. Not remembering that, she recently reached out to me on Twitter. We met up and discovered that we’re both snow-lovin’ nomads with a penchant for French, and we even went to the same school!
I watched What Happened to Monday and Hidden Figures on the plane. The former is interesting since it’s about a one-child policy which – whether enforced by government or not – we should consider because of climate change. The latter is about badass minorities in STEM. I also watched Darkest Hour with my grandpa, who hadn’t been to a cinema in decades!
I am almost done reading Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Help Others, Do Work that Matters, and Make Smarter Choices about Giving Back, which is an amazing read not only because I’ve become very passionate about “effective altruism”, but because it presents statistics in concrete ways. For example, it talks about how the apparent success of social program cum TV show Scared Straight can be explained by regression to the mean.
If you select a group of juveniles to go through a reform programme because they’ve committed an unusually high number of misdemeanours in a given time period, they’re likely to exhibit something closer to typical behaviour in coming months.
Last month, I wrote this piece on sustainable travel tips. But, it was before I read the chapter in Doing Good Better where I found out that only a small percentage of the markup you pay for sustainable goods end up in the pockets of the manufacturers. As well, the argument for not eating or cutting down on beef because of the CO2-like emissions is flawed. The equivalent amount of carbon emissions can actually be offset by donating $5/year to Cool Earth. So,
If you’d rather pay $5 than go vegetarian, then the environmental argument for vegetarianism is rather weak.
Even with an animal welfare lens, if not eating beef means eating more chicken, eggs, and pork, then that makes no sense since chicken, hens, and pigs are the ones raised in the cruelest conditions.
This month, for Lent, and for animal welfare, I’m giving up meat. What better place to do it than Bali, the mecca of hippie cafes aka avocados and smoothies galore, where I just arrived yesterday. I’m also looking forward to working on my surf and my Bahasa while here. Did you know Indonesia’s economy will overtake Canada’s by 2032?
See you on my Now page, or my next blogpost.