Actually, no. I don’t know any Singapore songs, it’s just that the title sounded good in my head.Anyway, so yeah – I’m in Singapore! I came here for a weekend workshop that the school is sending me on, wherein I learn how to teach literature in the International Baccalaureate Program (henceforth IB) at my school. This is a very different kind of teaching than I’m used to, so it’s good that I get to learn a little bit about how to actually teach to IB standards before I get into the classroom. Preparation counts, after all, and I do want to be prepared.
While I did a lovely job of getting myself all worked up about the trip beforehand , the actual journey from Japan to Singapore went without a hitch. Except for one heart-stopping moment in Kansai Airport where Immigration had to take a closer look at my passport. While I tried to figure out either a) who I could call for bail money or b) whether I could fight my way out, they came back to me just to let me know that my application for a Permanent Resident visa meant an extension to my deadline. No biggie.
One seven hour plane flight later, sitting next to a big, sleepy guy with jimmy-legs on the aisle and a whole host of high school girls, I made it! Cruised through customs, caught a taxi and now I’m in Singapore, of all places!A few thoughts as I’ve been wandering around…
- It’s nice and summery. I thought it would be awful, but it isn’t. I should wait until the daytime to really test this out, though.
- There’s a lot of construction going on. Everywhere I looked coming in, there were cranes and buildings going up. Clearly there’s a boom of some kind.
- Speaking of which, there’s a wonderful trend towards rhyming safety slogans on work sites. Things like, “You will regret if you forget” and “Prepare and prevent instead of repair and repent!” I enjoyed those greatly.
- I’m staying at the Porcelain Hotel, and holy cow is the room small. No, smaller than that. No, no – smaller. Now take away the windows and make it smaller again. Seriously, you’re not thinking small enough. That said, it’s got a big bed and free wi-fi. And the guy at the front desk recognized my Green Lantern ring, so that’s a plus.
- The town is gearing up for the Chinese New Year, which is in February. My hotel is right near Chinatown,so I wandered through there after I checked in. Tons of restaurants, chachke shops, tailor shops, herbalist drug stores, you name it. In fact, I may have accidentally spoken Chinese at one point. A young lady trying to get customers into her restaurant invited me in, and I said, “Sure, sure.” Which sounds a lot like “Thank you” in Mandarin Chinese (pronounced “sheh-sheh”, sort of). The young lady smiled and started speaking Chinese at me, and I got very confused and a little sad that I had misled her. Good food, though.
So I only got a small taste of a small neighborhood tonight. Tomorrow the workshop begins in earnest, and once I’m done Becoming a Better Teacher, I’ll have to see if I can find more sights to see.
 I am not a laid-back traveler – at least not when it comes to getting ready for the trip. Once I actually get to where I’m going, I’m fine, which just proves that the adage, “The journey is more important than the destination” is a load of horseshit.