Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Singapore to UK – February 26 207

Writing this flying at 35000 feet over Iran. 7 hours have passed since departure from Singapore and we have another 6 hours to go before arrival at London Heathrow. The flight so far has been comfortable. The flight attendants have been marvelous and we have been well looked after. I guess that you get a little special TLC when you fly first class. We were originally scheduled to depart Singapore on BA012. On arrival at the airport we were informed that there were 2 vacant first class seats on a slightly later BA016. We chose the latter. This is a Boeing 777 with a capacity for around 240 passengers. A smaller plane which also means quicker embarkation and disembarkation. Well, here I am, in complete luxury as far as air travel goes, on a flat bed writing this for my next posting.

This will be almost a turn-around trip. We will be in UK until March 20 when we will return to Singapore. Spring is just beginning in UK and I would like to tidy up the garden before the new growth. As the weather this winter has been rather warm, I guess the daffodils must be in bloom. We have been in Singapore since December 10 2006 and we miss Alexa our darling grand daughter. I will be good to see her again.

After nearly 3 months of Singapore I have this urgent need to get out and be somewhere else. The tidiness and the regimental culture of Singapore can be quite suffocating after a while. They mentality of the Singaporeans is rather unique. They are so kiasu and kiasi. For those who are unfamiliar with these two description, kiasu means “ afraid to lose to others, always must be on the winning side “ and kiasi with a literal translation of “ afraid to die “. This means the Singaporeans are not risk takers. They would rather others take to plunge and they will follow if they find profit at the end. Everything in life becomes a competition with the Singaporeans, from education for their children to jumping queues.

Life in Singapore can be good and can be bad. The good side of it is one generally feel quite safe. As long as you abide by the rules you will not fall foul of the law. The bad side of living in Singapore is that you always have this feeling that big brother is watching. Of course you will have to learn to accept the Singaporean way with all their bad habits. If you can live with all that, then life in Singapore can be quite pleasant.

I am rather looking forward to UK. The weather would be quite good and with spring in the air it will be a good 3 weeks break from Singapore. Seeing Alexa again will be great too. Another 5 hours of flight and we will be in UK. Great!!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Trip to my Home Town - Segamat

At long last on February 5, I managed a trip back to my hometown Segamat. We left Singapore at 6 am and by 6.30 am we were in Johor Baru. The North-South highway was good because traffic was light at that time of the morning. We called in at a rest stop where we had coffee. If possible try and avoid the beverages at such places. We had to abandon our drinks. They were not even up to motorway standard.

We left the North-South highway when we got to the Yong Peng turn-off. From then on we journeyed along the old trunk road. This road has been vastly improved and the rest of our journey to Segamat was quite good.

We got to Segamat at around 9.30 am. We proceeded to have our breakfast at the coffee shop which is noted for its local coffee and kaya toasts. After breakfast we took a walk along some of the old streets of my hometown, Nothing has changed, except maybe for the merchandise in the shops. We walked passed the shop house and I pointed out to Dianne the little place where I was born and where I lived for 17 years before I ventured out into the world. I must admit it brought back some good memories.

Next we over to visit mother at brother’s Tong’s house. Mother is well and looking very good. For a 93 year old she is extremely healthy. I pray that she will remain so for a long time to come. Her only complaint is the slight loss of hearing. I am so happy she is well. As usual we sat and chatted, with mother asking about how we are getting on and how our children are doing. Having assured her that we are all well, she appeared happy. I could tell she was very pleased to see us. I had to dampen her elation a little by telling her we were not staying the night in Segamat. However, she was quite please at my suggestion that we lunch together at a local restaurant. The lunch was excellent. Good food and loving company certainly make a joyous occasion.

WE stopped at a local fruit seller and bought 10 durians, some pomeloes and some langsat. We presented 2 of the pomeloes to mother for prosperity in the New Year.

After lunch we returned for another chat at home. Then it was time to say goodbye again. I gave her an ang pow to help her celebrate her Lunar New Year My mother asked that I make regular trips home. I said I will try. On the way back to Singapore on the other side of town we dropped in to see one of my aunt and my little god daughter. Unfortunately my god daughter was still at school. We chatted with my aunt for a while and started on our journey back to Singapore.

We got to Singapore at 6.40 pm. On the way home we went by Marn Seng’s, Sister Yoke Leng’s and Gary’s to deliver the durians.

It was a good day. Visits to Segamat always cheer me up. I cannot say it does the same to others. Segamat will always be the place I call home.