Singapore – Michael & Tanja

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Tanja works it

I treated Erin and myself to a long weekend in Singapore to go and visit super-couple Michael and Tanja. Michael, for those of you joining the movie late, is one of my old colleagues / class mates / general great friend that I used to work with at Asus, and Tanja is just one of the best people in the world full stop – so I was really looking forward to seeing them again.

They have really managed to land on their feet. A large colonial house with high ceilings, wood floors and luxurious amounts of space to breathe. Something truly inspiring to aim for, and they deserve every ‘ping’ of it.

I had been to Singapore before (see here) but it was Erin’s first time. I therefore played tour guide around the sights, sounds and smells of Singapore’s various ethnic neighbourhoods. It was really fun to come back and know my way around – and it was a breath of fresh air to be free of scooters, all the 7-11s and the hustle and bustle that makes Taiwan, Taiwan.


Erin is a big fan of Singapore

After the sites of Singapore’s more than ample tourist industry, it was really pleasant to change gear and join M&T; on a nice night out drinking outside (remember what that is like in Taiwan?) on a rooftop looking out over the city, and planning our imminent trip to the BEACH.

Now, I was pretty open minded about which beach we should go to. The guys have been here a few months but they are still checking out the best places to go and what is new for them of course is new for me. However. They dropped the ball when they informed me that to get to the beach in Sentosa requires an underground train ride, linking up with a cable car … and then gravity driven go cart to the beach! Tony Blair – please listen to the voice of the people – we need more gravity assisted go-carts in ALL major cities. Crime rates would drop, and the nation will be happier. It was immense fun (and I am genuinely looking forward to going back to Singapore for only this reason).


Tanja Franzen – driving for McLaren this year. Awesome.

Now Sentosa, by any European measurements should be an area to avoid at all costs. An artificial island built purely to sun the overworked Singaporeans and juxtaposed next to what seems to be a oil supertanker show room it is a pretty gaudy mix of Pirates of the Caribbean and Disney. But lying on that beach, the waves lapping (was there a wave machine, me asks?) and just out of view of the tankers if you squint a bit … and it was something close to heaven. Delicious.


Fierce!


Michael looks nervous


Erin looks cheeky …


… and great


The trees were real, I think, but kept expecting Thunderbird special effects as Virgil pilots TB 2 away to a world trouble spot (of which there are plenty these days, it seems)


New shades from Japan


The suspension of disbelief is maintained right up until you ascend the tallest hill in Singapore (yes 150 metres! – all the rest have been used to reclaim land) – kind of beautiful in its own way … but you click your heels together and you are home.


Unfortunately, Erin clicked her heels together a touch too hard and lost one of her shoes – this shot rather nicely captures the mood of the moment!


Gone for good – and I lend my shoes to Erin until we reach the first shoe store (with nice shoes)

In actual fact, the original excuse to visit Singapore happened on Saturday night – DJ Shadow playing a preview show of his new album at Zouk club; one of the most famous clubs in all of Asialand.

Some absolutely ridiculous ticket antics on their part almost ruined our night, though. I am sure in Taipei most problems are a result of benign dimness, and things work out well in the end. In Singpore, rules are more meticulously enforced. Which is dull – but then I think that is what the locals sacrifice in return for safety, comfort and wealth.

When we all arrived, it was clear that our friend the door man had invited all of his friends, and the club was so packed you could hardly move. People say this when describing rock concerts, but I really mean it. Entirely ridiculous – I would guess it was over capacity by 20% – and at times I was really ready to just quit and go home. In the end though, we did find a little spot where were not in fear of being crushed to death and that we could relax. But sorry Mr Shadow – I am downloading your album and not paying for it, in return for my broken ribs.


Someone finds it funny

So. A great weekend in Singapore. Amazing food (again). And more than fantastic to see some people that really defined my Taiwan experience – and great to see them doing so well. Here’s to you!

2 Comments

  1. C.M
    Posted 2006/08/28 at 00:39 | Permalink

    hi there, what a interesting blog u have here, hope you don’t mind me reading it. i’m an industrial designer from singapore (just out of the national service) how’s the design scene over at taiwan?

  2. Posted 2006/08/28 at 08:38 | Permalink

    The design scene is good. Different to Singapore, I think, but both are great plaes to work. In fact, the people I was visiting were designers at Philips in Singapore, and I know a few others too.

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