The first few days were full of novelty and nostalgia. I didn't mind layering up and being cosy in the height of summer, the grey windy days with the wind and rain blowing in my face, the slight grumpiness of people.
But after exactly four days the novelty firmly wore off and the stark reality started to hit. I started wondering why everyone looked like they had faces like slapped arses. Was it really the pathetic excuse for a summer? Maybe it was the bad feeling lingering on from the riots or recent murders? Perhaps the fact that people had been told they were heading for an age of austerity to last 10 years?
Whatever it was I was starting to miss Singapore already. Yes it was great to see family and friends but I felt like an alien in my own country, floating around like a ghost getting more and more disturbed and negative about the things I saw. And I couldn't help constantly drawing comparisons between my two homes.
These were just some of the things knocking about in my head...
No.1: In the UK summer is not summer. In August try wearing a vest, long sleeved top and cardi, jeans and boots and you'll be just grand. The rain is drizzly and thrown in your face by the wind. It changes your whole posture as you brace against it. And once the novelty wears off it sucks. In it's place stands misery guts.
In Sing, we might not have any seasons but at least that means you know what you're getting. You know what to wear and know that at least when it rains it will be relatively fast and furious and still warm rather than a painful, drawn out affair with no end in sight. And more importantly that it won't be all too long before you see that fabulous mood enhancer - the sun - again.
No.2 : When I was in the UK in the space of 10 minutes someone pretty much puked right in front of me in broad day light followed by someone pulling down their pants and taking a crap in the street in full view. At first I thought he was just another flasher to add to my list. But no he was taking a dump. Perhaps a produce of "Care in the Community" or just someone doing it for s@$%s and giggles. Pun intended.
In Sing, you will probably never leave a night at Zouk without someone puking up right in front of you, but at least by that time you are probably also pretty squiffy which lessens the pain of seeing the vomit almost land on your shoe. I've only seen someone who looked like they already crapped themselves in Singapore, given away by their poo stained trousers. At least they had the decency to do the deed out of my sight.
No.3 : In the UK, a taxi to the airport cost me somewhere in the region of $80. It's a long drive from nearly everywhere - for me about an hour if you're lucky, and usually you get the most grumpy person ever taking you there. You feel like you shouldn't even be in their taxi and should probably just jump out then and there. Well it seems that sometimes you DON'T get what you pay for.
In Sing, joyously a taxi to the airport is a quick (yes I know it's much smaller here) and painless procedure which in peak hours will cost you around $20 from where I live. Generally the taxi drivers are jolly or mute. Occasionally mad but that makes for great entertainment. I've never felt like they are secretly wishing to stick voodoo dolls into me in any case.
No.4: There is nothing like the great British media. It seems to rule the country a lot more than the government does. I furiously devoured all the newspapers and supplements I could but after 3 weeks I realised it had made me totally neurotic about everything from fashion, diet, cancer, accidentally setting fire to things and starting a forest fire as a consequence, whether I was going to get stabbed at random and if I had enough erotic capital whatever the hell that is anyway. My head hurt. A bit like this.
Sometimes I bless the fact that media in Singapore is controlled in the way that it is here. Life is less scary and you have less panic attacs as a result. The saying ignorance is bliss rings very true here. And the truth is always out there should you wish to seek it - it's just not being rammed down your throat 24/7.
No. 5: Most people get on the plane to go on holiday. The Brits seem to get on a plane with the sole purpose of getting drunk and farting. You beastly people next to me on my leg out to Dubai know who you are. It's a flight not a zoo and being a night time flight most of us are trying to kip you know! I hope you had a really bad hangover when you landed.
Well Singapore might be a sub-tropical island but thankfully most people here seem to be able to avoid the temptation to act like animals from the jungle when they get on a plane to go somewhere. Thank goodness for that!
No.6: I can't stand it when people moan on about not being able to understand Singlish. In the UK, I can't understand people for all the swear words coming out of their mouths. I know I'd much rather hearing here Lah, Wah, and What on the end of every sentence than F*£%, S*"% and C&£%.