I Sing of Singapore!

Actually, no. I don’t know any Singapore songs, it’s just that the title sounded good in my head.

Singapore - Home to giant, cartoony snakes.

Singapore – Home to giant, cartoony snakes.

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 [1], 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!

This was taken from the door. There was nowhere further back to go.

This was taken from the door. There was nowhere further back to go.

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.
  • Everything is red. Everything.

    Everything is red. Everything.

  • 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.

[1] 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.


3 comments on “I Sing of Singapore!

  1. Sarah says:

    So… does the fact that the school is sending you off for training mean that you’re not losing your job after all? That would be really good news!

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