A bunch of years ago, I spent a year working out of Singapore. Fearless to MSG, I ate like a pig relative to my 5 inch size. Although I ‘presumed’ my metabolic rate was higher than average, it never occurred to me that one day the privilege WILL BE LOST. Gradually I grew, neglectful of my fat component because loose-fit clothing were in or I just made that up. I never cooked at home and spent most days munching down meals at omnipresent food courts and hawker centers for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I ate double portions, od’d on sugar, and engulfed everything like a mad beast with no regrets.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I went back to Singapore for a special occasion and..to retrace my ph(f)at. This time, I did what I NEVER considered doing when I lived in Singapore. Avoid the MRT/BUS and walk. Why not? I’ll tell you WHY NOT. The haze (thank you Indonesia) hogged the air. People walked around in masks and downloaded apps to check psi readings, while I decided to spend 1 afternoon after a Chilli Crab lunch to stroll down to Holland V from Dempsey Hill (my old hood) – 2.5kms away. I could see my old bus stop from a distance. ‘Non sheltered’, (sidewalks are covered now) at the time, the packed bus I took was ALWAYS on time. There were times when I would soak in torrential rains, umbrella did no good especially when it was windy.
This time, 2.5kms felt like 200kms. I soaked in my own sweat. Thank God, I carried a pack of tissues. Apart from wiping sweat, tissues play a dominant role in Singaporean culture. If you want to make a soundless statement in a food court, throw a pack of tissues on a table and no one would dare take your seat. So, I spent 40 minutes soaking up until I got to Holland V, expat central. I got an uncomfortable and overpriced foot massage because the place just got more crowded. With the new MRT and half empty food court, it brought back nostalgic memories especially when I walked aimlessly in the Cold Storage (supermarket).
The next day, after breakfast, I decided to walk from ION Orchard to Arab Street, 3.6kms because I didn’t think I suffered enough in the heat and the haze looked like it was clearing up. NOT. Thank God for all the new malls and underground shopping areas spread around Orchard Road like a plague. I walked in and out to dry sweat off my clothes and it still didn’t WORK! The sauna walkathon took around an hour and a half. I wouldn’t call it a mistake, but just an experience I’d rather not repeat. Finally, when I made it to Arab Street, where funky looking cafes and stores have proliferated, I walked into cat cafe for no reason. A couple of minutes later I walked out because it was pretty expensive to ‘stare’ at bunch of cats I had no connection to while having a drink. So, I strolled around Haji Lane thinking back at how I used to fall for lovely little store fronts and buy things I hardly used or wore. I heard thunder off in the background, so I immediately got in a cab. It rained like cats and dogs at war.
For 5 days, I relived a fraction of my eating moments in a restricted vicinity because venturing outside the central area seemed like such a hassle in the unpleasant weather. Besides, I came to Singapore for something specific. It’s totally impossible to relive 365 days of all you can eat in 5 days. Back in the day, I ate everything, everywhere!
On my last day, I indulged my palate in an Omakasean experience for the second time in my life. Here, your Japanese chef cooks whatever he wants while YOU don’t even think about how much it will cost. #YOLO