23 May 2011


Last month I read an article in my very first Expat Magazine about a musical opening in May. The show, which previously sold out in a prior run, was about a British woman who moved to Singapore with her husband and two children and who experienced a whirl wind of issues once she arrived. The Expat Wife, a tale of a woman assimilating to Singapore social life and culture, sounded like a hysterical show for a girl like myself who recently moved to the island with its hotter and much more humid climate, who experienced “humidity hair,” as I and one of the characters in the show called it and who was having a difficult time communicating with some of the locals due to the differing accents.

Monday Paul and I made plans to see the Thursday night showing but, when Thursday night came, Paul decided he did not really want to go. Totally fine. Friday morning I awoke after a terrible night’s sleep and headed to the beach for a walk/run while watching the sun rise. It was a glorious start to the day as I watched the sun break over the tree tops and through the clouds as I sat on the pier. I had some quiet time to myself to just sit and think. I had a great workout as well. When I got home, I purchased my single ticket to that evening’s show and opted not to select the S$3 insurance option to hold my ticket for the next evening’s showing, just in case something came up last minute. What would change my plans in the next 10 hours?

Paul and I ran some errands mid-morning and, by the time we returned home, I was feeling very ill. Paul was kind enough to put away all of the groceries and accept that I would not be making lunch as I decrepitly went into the spare bedroom to take a nap. Ugh.

Since I opted out of the ticket insurance, and I did not completely feel like death after my nap, I decided to just take my time getting ready and take a cab to the theater. I was cute yet casual in some jeggings and a yellow, flowered strapless dress that I don’t think I would ever wear as a strapless dress because the fabric is rather thin and the skirt is a little short for my prudent taste. I waved my hair using a triple-barrel iron and popped in a headband with little ribbons on one side. I painted my face with the rarely seen Friday night going out makeup, semi-smokey eyes and all. I looked so cute but I felt like crap.

I was able to snag a cab from across the street, which is amazing because cabs are not so easy to come by, especially on a Friday at 7. I told the cab driver where I needed to go and I got a familiar, “Eh?” as a response. We sat in the cab for four minutes while the guy pulled out a map and the two of us tried to map out my final destination. I was completely frustrated as this was not the first time a cab driver did not know my destination. The best part, though, is that the show was at a theater on the National University of Singapore campus. He needed a map to find the biggest university on the island – it’s like me saying “Take me to Ohio State,” in Columbus. If I don’t know the exact address but I have the building name, at least the cab driver would start heading in the right direction until we called someone for verification. This guy just didn’t know. I hate it when the cab drivers ask me how to get places or verify exits or parkway routes. Do you see that I am white? I just moved here. I don’t know! Isn’t Singapore small enough that you, as a professional chauffer of sorts, should know all of the streets?

The cab driver ended up driving passed the main entrance of the campus and dropping me off at a bus stop. If he had gone into the main entrance, the building would have been the first one and I would have made it to the show on time. Instead, I was left standing on the other side of a bus stop staring at a giant lighted campus map behind plexiglass where not all of the building names appeared. Four ignorant passing students and two unwitting security guards later, it was passed 8 and I was officially late to the show. My four-inch heels were doing wonders on my feet after I walked and ran up and down stairs and brick sidewalks. A bit after 8, I received a call from a girl at the theater asking if I would be attending the show. I told her I was on campus but that no one seemed to know where the theater was, so it was not looking promising. I told her I would likely see about coming the next day when two shows were scheduled.

After wandering the campus for a total of 40 minutes, I gave up and took off my shoes. I continued walking as I desperately waited for a cab. My cuteness had turned into something that made me look more like a girl in a bar at 1 in the morning – my strapless dress did not like to stay up (this was the first I had worn it), my hair was gross due to the sweat from walking and running, I was all sweaty from all of the walking and running and, of course, I was barefoot. I finally hailed an empty cab and made my way home, disappointed that I would not see the show I had just paid S$62 to see. So much for my night out.

The theater offered to comp my ticket to the Saturday matinĂ©e since I experienced difficulties the night before, so I carefully studied Google Maps and tried again. This time I got to the theater in half the time at half the cost (stupid Friday night peak hour pricing and tolls). I still looked really cute in a black top with thick straps and a bow and a khaki skirt. Instead of wearing my four-inch black heels, I covered my feet with Neosporin and Band-Aids and wore flip flops. Since I did not want all of the Band-Aids to be seen, I brought the four-inch heels with me to wear only at the theater. When I went to put on my heels, I noticed their appearance. The heels themselves were severely scraped and the tips were gone – I literally had screws coming out the bottom of my shoes. I threw them in a trash can at a bus stop on my way home.

The show started out OK but it got very cheesy very quickly. It was worse than a small town community theater. There was no orchestra, just a soundtrack of synthesizer music. The opening song was a montage of satirical lyrics to songs like “Viva, Las Vegas,” which became “Viva, Singapura.” When the cast sang, they sang with hand mics. When the cast spoke, there were no mics; one woman, who was sometimes Australian and sometime southern, just shouted through all of her lines. Certain shows will feature an over-the-top character for comedic value. In this show, everyone but the main character was completely over the top, which only made it annoying. Some parts of the show were funny but the over acting, the strange soundtracks and the horrid choreography made me want to leave at halftime. So I did.

I called Paul as I was contemplating my move and, since he was back from Indonesia, I decided to hop on a bus and head home. I had a sunny, relaxing bus ride back east and I got to see a new part of the island. It really is apparent that they just built a city in the middle of a jungle. I love looking at the trees on this island. They are all different but most of them seem to share a winding of the branches that I find very interesting. I do wish that it weren’t so humid all the time, I wish there were not a million people in one place everywhere I go, I wish the cab drivers could go to cab driver school in Manhattan so the New Yorkers could show these guys how it’s done (in Singapore, the cab drivers go for coffee when it rains because none of them know how to or want to drive in the rain). But, all in all, I really like this place. If only they would approve Paul’s employment pass…

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