Firstly the opression of Singapore. Natalia has tried to explain to me in the past few years how much she has broken out of the mould of Singapore (admittedly she is zany by most people's standards) but I didn't really get it until now. As she tells me, people are Singapore's resources, rather than farming or mining etc, so the way the government manages those resources is Control and strong discouragement (read capital punishment!) of independence or disobedience. It's everywhere you go - apartment blocks all painted the same, railings along the footpath to prevent you crossing the road except at designated places, voiceovers at the train station telling you to hold the handrail on the escalator, signs saying No Waiting, No Loitering, No Standing, No Smoking, No Running or Playing, even signs that have a picture of someone getting shot by an army man for No Entry.... and so on. Even after being here a few days I was feeling a bit constrained and needing to rebel in some small way.
It all culminated in a very very surreal moment at the Zouk nightclub on Mambo night this week. Mambo night is where they play very bad pop music remixed for clubs and everybody dances along by miming each word of every song. It is very very bizarre because there are dancing platforms full of people all dressed the same, guys and girls separated, all doing the exact same dance moves for the whole song. They have such specific gestures for each word, it's like another language. For instance the mime for Dancing Queen is boogie with pointed fingers, then putting a crown on your own head. No moving of feet or wiggling to the beat permitted. "I just died in your arms tonight" involves a hanging gesture! Right. So my surreal moment was when everybody was miming along like a pile of drag queens to "It's My Life" by bon jovi and Natalia and I tried to get up on one of these platforms for a dance. A security guard suddenly appeared next to us and informed us that only 3 people could be on this platform at a time, and I looked around and saw all these people who looked the same and dressed the same, all doing the same mime gestures to a song about paving your own path, independence, doing things your own way.... argh. It was just too much!! Luckily, after a while, one of the other girls got down and Natalia and I could both get up and do free style dancing with our shakers, wiggling our butts like crazy things! What a moment of rebellion! We expected one of the many security guards lining the walls to drag us down at any second...
I checked out the Singapore Zoo and night safari yesterday. Fantastic! I was very excited about endearing critters such as pygmy hippos, otters, tapirs, guanacos, badgers, pangolins.... eeeeeep!! Also, I saw a SLOTH omg... and made friends with some Giant Flying Squirrels which are possibly the most hilarious critters I have ever seen. I will have to tell my boss that we need some at Lorna Glen. No photos of them as it was too dark, unfortunately.
Today Natalia and I went to one of 2 of Singapore's reserves. She didn't even know it existed so it was particularly exciting. We saw some huuuge water monitors in the mangroves, Varanus salvator. About the size of a big perentie. There was much excitement and attempts to catch them.
Also I booked a very cheap flight to Phuket for the next week. Despite what I said above, Singapore is nice, and clean, and easy to navigate... but there's not a whole heap to do (and also i picked up a 2nd hand thailand lonely planet book for $4 :)!! how exciting. I might have to leave some of my crap behind at a backpackers or something though. No need for thermals and ski goggles in Phuket!!