Sorebrek's Musings and Ramblings

In search of the holy grail of an MBA (class of 2008 hopeful), this space will hopefully chronicle the search and my other quixotic pursuits.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sorebrek courts the Merlion

So amici, the last time we spoke, Sorebrek was on a plane trying to score some bottled water. The thing is, normally Sorebrek loves these breaks from the mundane, i.e. sitting in traffic on bay bridge in a blue funk. However, this time, with the gods of MBA admissions to appease, he is not as thrilled to leave the familiar behind. In any case, off he goes, his toothbrush packed. First stop: Singapore. After being frisked at multiple airports and generally feeling violated, he manages to land in Singapore without event.

After being scanned for respiratory infections and potential for illegal immigration, he is let loose on Singapore! The hotel turns out to be a pleasant surprise; the staff get your name off the baggage tag and right there starts the 'Mr. Sorebrek' treatment. Nice. Just when it seemed like nothing could possibly go wrong, the blurb on the key-card envelope catches his eye: In keeping with the informal, yet refined environment at the R***, we ask that you refrain from wearing shorts or tank-tops in the lobby area. Now Mr.S is not really into shorts, but the sport he is, he rushes out and buys himself a pair of shorts and open-toed sandals and spends the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the informal yet relaxed environs of the lobby, chewing contraband gum, rocking to the pod and generally being the obnoxious tourist he abhors. But seriously, what kind of a dork would come up with the no-shorts rule? The place is a friggin' year-round open-air sauna; shorts and tank-tops are just small mercies. Btw, Mr. S always packs a Costco-sized pack of Trident when headed Singapore-wards and in all magnanimity hands it out to strangers in random acts of kindness. So far he has managed to jump the cane. About caning: if you're awarded 40 lashes, here is how it works. They do an artistic hatch pattern on your heinie; no overlaps. They do about ten and typically there is no room left. So they let you go. But wait, not so easy; after the first 10 heal, they have you come back and start all over again!

With work and other minor distractions put out of the way, Sorebrek and co-worker J hit the town - hard! First stop: Zouk. J's insider friends exchange Sieg Heil salutes with the velvet rope Nazis and in no time we've crossed the rope that separates the plebians from the patricians. Among other things, Singapore women hit the bottle pretty hard - we're not talking wimpy spritzers or drinks with goofy umbrellas in them; the real deal - shots of hard liquor put away like there is no tomorrow. Conversation: not ho hum, more like comme si comme ca. On the America hate-meter Singaporeans comes up pretty low, but it remains fashionable as in several other parts of the world to take pot-shots at Dubya. Hey I didn't elect him ok, can we get back to some shallow topics please? I am uncomfortable talking sense.

Cheap taxis - you can get from one end of the island to the other and drop under US$30 - expensive liquors and cigarettes though. Talking about cigarettes, I noticed that Singapore has these grizzly pictures printed on cigarette packs. Food: this place like totally like rocks like when it comes to food. All sorts of Asian food at dirt cheap prices. We're assured that the highest standard of hygiene is maintained. Apparently food cops do sting operations to bust violators. If it weren't for this MBA business that would be a career I wouldn't mind: hey you with the lobster in black-bean sauce, step away from the table sir; I need to perform a quality check. Apparently it is safe to drink water straight from the tap, but I wasn't willing to find out. Mango tree (South Indian seafood) and Hai Tien Lo (city lights Dim Sum) are two restaurants that stood out.

That said Singapore is a great place to work for the MBA types - atleast for a year or two. It is a true confluence of east and west with most of the creature comforts to go with. I ran into a lot of banker types and they didn't look or sound as neurotic as the Wall Street types. Who knows this might be a Sorebrek stomping ground in the years to come, although I wouldn't fancy settling down here; there is little else besides the shopping and food; none of the ambience of urine-town San Fran or freak-show Berkeley. God how I miss those things.
I'll leave you with the story of Singapore: long before Singapore as we know existed, one evening the lion heads out to a bar on an island close to home for a couple of drinks. A confused tourist Mermaid wanders into the same bar. Before you know it they hook up and the lion is doing shots off the Mermaid's belly. //Censored by the Government of Singapore// Thus the Merlion was born!


  • At 5:25 PM, Blogger sghama said…

    ha ha. entertaining read - glad you enjoyed your time in singapore. i am familiar with the no shorts/tank tops rule at said hotel, but you're right it totally blows. you here for work?


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