It has been quite a few days since my last post, but many times I think of something I want to write and find myself far far away from my computer (which is the downside to e-journals). I am currently waiting for the handyman to come over because now our fridge does not cool and stuff has started to spoil...not that I cook much here, but things were getting funky. And for some reason, dishes in our apartment tend to stay in the sink unwashed....which is really bad because there are campaigns in Singapore to avoid the spread of Dengue fever which is a disease carried by mosquitoes for which there is no cure...and the mosquitoes like hanging around stagnant water, like the kind that is found in dirty dishes. But anyway...my living situation is much better than some of my friends from school. So that is a plus. I am however still planning to move out for financial reasons. And I'd like to live in a place where the kitchen does not disgust me to the point where I'd rather just not ever step foot in it.
One of the highlights of the last few days has been attending a Wine Tasting dinner sponsored by my Rotary Club where Greek wines were pitted against Austrian wines because our club has some members who are from Greece and some from Austria as well. There was also a auction where I got to act like Vanna White and show the auction pieces to the varios tables at the eveng. It was really enjoyable and many of the other Rotary Scholars were invited as well. I also learned that the hotel where my club meets, GoodWood Park hotel is of historical importance to Singapore. The event ended and the other scholars and I stayed out for a bit longer scince we were already in the Orchard area, a very nice part of town. But much to our surprise, we ended up at a coffee shop that turned out to be a prime viewing location for the local prostitutes, hostesses, etc. I then confirmed with my local friends that that was indeed what we were seeing (becuase maybe it was just normal girls with really bad fashion sense) but they confirmed it. Apparently we had kind of wandered to the end of the really nice part of Orchard and had ended up close to where many 'night workers' like to pick up clients. Bet most people don't think of Singapore as having a vibrant red light district...well at least I didn't.
Othergood news, I will be working with UNIFEM The United Nations Development Fund for Women starting very soon. They have been generous enough to allow me to create any project I want that fits within the scope of thier mission and will give me access to their volunteer base to have help to carry out what I want to do. I am very excited about that.
I really wish I could post pics here but my internet just doesn't like uploading to this site for some reason.
Other observations: Singapore is a very multicultural and diverse place , however, similar to the United States, I find that many of the cultural groups all tend to socialize within themselves. I am often the only non Chinese when I hang out with my local Singaporean friends who are Chinese...I also haven't seen too many inter-racial couples here. Although there are many Caucasian male Asian female couples to be seen, there isn' t too much by way of Chinese-Indian etc. There are a few people who have been very mixed, but they tend to have been in Singapore for multiple generations and share a similar religious background.
My rotary scholar girlfriends and I were also talking about the varous concepts of what is beautiful here and how the dating culture can seem to be so confusing to sort out from our foreign point of view. Similar to the lack of intercultural marriages we have seen, there isn't too much intercultural dating that we have witnessed except for Caucasian male/Asian female. Most of us are Asian American rotary scholars and that puts us in a very odd place for several reasons:
1. If we look Asian, often we are misconstrued for local...this means that other foreigners don't feel the same affinity towards us as they do for people who look foreighn.
2. Then if someone local tries to date us, they are in for a big surprise, because we are not local and our mindsets are quite different.
So we find ourselves in this rather odd place where we are neither here nor there. Not just in the realm of dating but all other interpersonal interactions. But the funny thing is, that is the same position we are often in at 'home' in the US...we aren't caucasian so people want us to be Asian, but we are not quite 'Asian' either.
To this day, I think that my Rotary club expected an 'Indian' and then they got me. =) Everytime I say I'm American, people want to know why I look the way I do. While Americans come in all colors, I still find that the 'American' many people abroad are looking for is the stereotypical one who is Caucasian. From my nerdy researchers point of view this is all very interesting becuase it is exactly what my dissertaion is getting at. I am not a race and ethnic studies person by definition, but what I find is that the longer I look at these issues, the more race and ethnicity keeps coming up.
Other weekend activities included hanging out on Dempsey Road with a slew of shops and restaurants but with a foresty atmosphere, eating at Holland Village, Chijmes, and walking around in the city. Everytime I walk around I notice something new....that is one of the things that I enjoy about being somewhere new. There is always something to entertain yourself with. There is no end to good food and entertainment here.
And my final thought for today...I had my eybrows threaded by someone at my MRT station...and well....now I have two eyebrows that don't quite look the same. Hmmmm.....I think next time I'll pay the big bucks and go to the more expensive eyebrow grooming chain called Browhause.
I can't believe my second month has already started...