Friday, February 22, 2008


What to ask for when ordering coffee in Singapore:

Coffee - Milk & Sugar
Coffee O - No milk - coffee black no sugar
Coffee Kosung - No milk, no sugar
Coffee C - Coffee with Sugar and Condensed milk

No option for Milk no sugar or condensed Milk no sugar.

I'm pretty sure that the same applies to tea.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


It's no joke. I thought everyone here spoke English but in fact it is a combo of English and Singlish. I find that employees at all the official companies - banks, utility companies, cable company, they all use Singlish and it is difficult to understand.

I most commonly here: Can, lah. or Can lah? or Cannot. or Can Can.

Lah softens a sentence as if to add Y'know at the end of it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

INDONESIA - Ferry Ride

Forgot to mention that the ferry ride over to Bintan was so tumultuous that have the people on the boat threw up. There was a guy whose job it was to pass out and collect plastic bags. The horizon line jumped above and below the window.

Monday, February 18, 2008


It's fun to be here but it's expensive for the four of us on one salary.

To travel we are dipping into our savings. If we didn't travel we still wouldn't make enough to contribute to retirement, savings or college fund for the girls.

I take care of the kids, Lula is in school half days, Maya is home with me and often I take a few hours for myself (or drs appts, paying bills, date, whatever) and then I get a babysitter.

Top expenses are: Childcare (School & babysitting), Taxi's with the children, air conditioning ( $200-$400) a month. I try to cut down on A/C but I find being sweaty unbearable and sticky ten minutes after showering to be unpleasant. If I can shop at more than one market I can save a lot of money. The times that I did all my shopping at the expat super market were convenient but super expensive.

It would be nice if I could find a job that fit in with Rob's schedule and I may need to think more seriously about that down the line since I would make more money than the cost of school or babysitting.

With the falling dollar Singapore is not cheap- not the bargain I assumed it would be.


It turns out the Ang Mo means red-headed devil foreigner. It is a derogatory racial epithet. I am most definitely getting a t-shirt made.

SINGAPORE: Things I like

Things I like about Singapore:

1. The hawker stalls! They're the best. I like that its the perfect place to bring kids because no one worries about the mess and its pretty loud there so they are not disturbing anyone. I can also go and eat by myself and it's not weird. I can get an excellent meal for $2. There's lots of variety so you can go with a crowd and everyone can get what they want. No need to discuss which restaurant to go to.

2. Access to swimming. The pool is great.
3. I love a big rain storm when we're inside. I love getting to watch it from the window.
4. I like the balmy night breezes.
5. I love the proximity to lots of exotic locations and also how easy it is to come back to an extremely civilized country with clean drinking water.
6. I love the tropical greenery and the flowers that smell like Hawaii.
7. I like that there are lots of things to do with kids.
8. I like the public transportation.
9. I like the lizards that make chirping sounds and eat bugs.
10. Though sometimes at extra cost, most everything is available here - with the exception of good Brooklyn bagels.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Lula did not want to leave the hotel, the Nirwana Resort Hotel. She said she wanted to leave in three days. It was nice to hang out by the beach, by the pool, at the Kiddy Club, feeding fish, visiting the birds at the little rescued animal zoo...

Maya has started preparing for her birthday by singing "HADDY BIRDAY TO YOU HADDY BIRDAY DO MAYA HADDY BIRDAY DO YOU" Also, she can sing along to the whole alphabet. She spontaneously counted to eight the other day. She told someone she was two this morning. She also sings lots of other songs "NO MONKEY ON MY BED" and "BABY ALUGA", "TWINKLE LITTLE STAR", and quite a few others. Lula can sing a song in Chinese that may be for New years, "CONSHI CONSHI NIA".


Lula & Maya really loved the pool and got into very serious work with the water bottles requiring a lot of filling and emptying. Very tedious work mind you...

BINTAN INDONESIA: Chess Physical & Mental Exercise

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Hello All,

We are going to Indonesia overnight with Shannon Lindner of Arizona.

We are most likely staying at the Nirwana Resort Hotel in Bintan and returning tomorrow.

Tel (62)770-692505

SINGAPORE: More responses to Article

This is a page of responses to the original article "A Graceless Society"

One mentions me by name - lower left hand corner.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

SINGAPORE: My letter published in Today


Letter from

I refer to "A Graceless society?" (Feb 12) and wish to thank Annette Tan Siew Lan for what she has written. I am a New Yorker living in Singapore and my pre-conceived notion of a polite society is being dashed to little bits. I travel around the city with two toddlers in a
stroller and frequently meet people at the lifts of Paragon Medical Centre or at the MRT station who arrive after me, then push past me to get in. New Yorkers have a reputation for being rude and they are at times bold and aggressive but never this rude. At first, I was shocked but now, I simply roll the stroller over the toes of the rude offender.

Please feel free to share my warning to Singaporeans. If you see a red-haired woman struggling with her children please offer assistance or mind your toes!

(Accompanying this letter is a cartoon drawing of a red-headed woman with a big nose saying Out of the way! Or your toes get it... to a non-descript guy. Are caucasians perceived as having big noses? The words for foreigner here is "Ang Mo"

Monday, February 11, 2008

SINGAPORE: Lula paints

For Lula, it's not the quality of the painting but the quantity of the paint. She's forcing me to challenge my assumptions of what art is.

You may also notice that we STILL have our Christmas tree up!

Lula will have her second swimming lesson tomorrow. She did well last Saturday. Maya wasn't very interested and though she kicked a little while holding on to the side of the pool she left soon after. I think she'll learn later from watching Lula.

Singapore: Beverages

My most recent favorite is the Aloe with white grape juice. And of course nothing says refreshing like Fungus!

Singapore: Maya - better already

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Singapore: Maya has a Shiner

I was at a birthday party tonight and Maya was sitting in the chair next to me and the next thing I knew she was head first into the marble floor. Now she has a large bulging bump, a "goose egg" on her head which she appeared to recover from faster than I did. She didn't cry for very long but it looks crummy and makes me worried. Shannon said I should wake her in the middle of the night once to make sure that she doesn't have a concussion and also to check to make sure that her eyes aren't dilated.

Rob has gone to Canada to suss things out and to find out if there will in fact be a project. For the first time I am alone in a Foreign country with the girls though not the first time alone in a foreign country.

I'm wondering if I can squeeze in a two night visit to Bintan (resorty location accessible by ferry in Indonesia) this week or on the weekend...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Someone remarked that I was handling the stress of not knowing where we will be living next week very well. I have been putting it out of my mind. But I realized that by doing so I have caused a really awful rash on par with a bad case of itchy poison ivy/leprosy. I couldn't figure out where I could have gotten it since I have been only in cities and not near any foliage. The doctor said it was an allergic reaction and gave me some cream. I considered posting photos for my parents but then remembered that not everyone would be as interested. So if you want to see my poison ivy type rash I can e-mail you the photos. I hoping that by making this realization I can stop stressing out and enjoy the sunshine, perhaps go for a swim and live in the present and hope that it goes away in a couple of days.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

SINGAPORE: Girls in Chinese Dresses


Who needs professional signs made? This Prata stall clearly has no loss for business. It is also where I eat breakfast almost daily - masala thosai or appam or puttu mayam or idly... with coffee C (coffee with evaporated and condensed milk and sugar which they leave out on my request)


Haven't felt much like updating for sometime now. We went to Los Angeles then to New York and Massachusetts for the Holidays and now we're back in Singapore.

We might be moving to Canada in a week but the uncertainty is making me a little loopy.

Here is some lovely snow from New York State.