28 February 2013

Full Moon

There is a full moon in the sky tonight and crazy fuckers are wandering the streets. I rode my bike down to Starbucks and had a coffee. A double shot vanilla latte. Short and sweet. I needed a caffeine jolt. I drank my coffee at an outside table and watched the world go by and I listened to music on my iPod. I had The Cat Empire blasting in my ears. They are my favorite Australian band. The Cat Empire are a blues and brass combination. They have South American influences - Cuban I think. Their music is sweet.

It can get any party started.

There are a lot of tourists wandering around this evening. Many of them are clutching maps and most are sweating prolifically. It has been a very hot day today and it is a steamy evening.

On the ride back home my way was blocked by a large and staggering European guy. He was reeling - all across the footpath. Americans call these sidewalks. I am not sure what the Singaporeans refer to them as. I have never asked but I don't really care either. They are footpaths to me.

I suspect that this European was Germanic. He was wearing a silly German looking hat. I think he was drunk but perhaps he was just mad. I rang the bell on my bike to warn him of my approach but instead of moving to one side he turned around and faced me and he held his arms out wide. He was intentionally blocking my way. He said something to me with a snarl on his face but I couldn't hear him as The Cat Empire was playing through my headphones. The song that I was listening to at the time was 'Sly".

I was playing it loud.

I had to pull up my bike and I came to a stop. I did not dismount but I was facing off the big boy. I had one foot on a pedal and one on the ground. My position was stable. I pulled the headphones from my ears and I asked him what was up. He growled something unintelligible that was definitely not in English. It might have been German but it could easily have been Slavic or Scandinavian. I am not good with foreign languages.

It was a bit of a stand-off situation. He looked quite aggressive and agitated.

I was a little alarmed.

Fortunately I had my umbrella with me. I carry it on a sling over my back pretty much everywhere I go in this town. It can rain suddenly and heavily and I don't like getting wet. Unless I swim of course or if I take a shower. When the German dude took a step toward me I unslung my umbrella and gave him a whack across his head. I don't think I hurt him but it caught him off guard and I was able to zip past him on my bike. I hurtled away to the safety of my home.

I didn't look back.

I think the full moon affects the sanity of some people. The moon exerts a powerful force.

It pulls tides.

The word lunatic is derived from the Latin 'luna' which means the moon. In ancient times it referred to people who supposedly went mad with different phases of the moon. They were at their maddest when the moon was full. Being considered a lunatic was generally associated with an old English belief that if the moon shone on you while you were asleep it could send you insane - you could become a lunatic. 

Supposedly the main reason that the thatched roofs on those old quaint English cottages hang so far down over the windows is that they were constructed that way to prevent the moon from shining on people while they were asleep. It was to stop them from becoming lunatics.

I really do learn something new every day and sometimes in the strangest of ways. 

27 February 2013


It is a requirement under all residential lease agreements here in Singapore to get one’s Air Conditioning units serviced every three months. This maintenance is compulsory and it is written into all residential lease agreements.

I have no problem with this. None at all. Air Conditioning is a must in Singapore as the heat and humidity is incessant. It often beats and belts me and smacks me around and it occasionally wears me down. Air Conditioners need to run at peak performance. 

I only have two small units in my little apartment. They are the evaporative type and they are known as 'packaged units'.

I don't know why. 

Whenever I am at home at least one of my Air Conditioning units is constantly humming. Sometimes both. I sleep with my bedroom unit on at full blast with the thermostat set at 24 degrees. I sleep beneath a sheet and a cotton blanket. My sheets are Egyptian and they have a thread count of 1000. I am not exactly sure what this means but they are soft and cool and crisp. I am normally attired in just my underpants when I sleep. I wear no pajamas.

Sometimes I am naked.

Pajamas is a funny word. The word pyjamas is derived from the Persian and Urdū languages. Pāë translates to foot or leg and Jāmah means clothing. So it is foot and leg clothing. Interesting huh?

I would have thought that this was a sock or a stocking - but it is not. 

I presume it is plural as in pyjamas rather than then singular pajama because there are two legs involved. But that’s just a best guess.

What do I know?

My air conditioning dudes are from a Company called Ezybreeze. I signed a one year contract with them for my quarterly servicing. I paid up front. This is the norm in Singapore.

Quarterly servicing and paying up front.  

There are dozens of AC companies to chose from and there may well be hundreds. It is a very competitive market. 

I selected Ezybreeze because I like the name. When my Air Conditioners are due for service Ezybreeze email me and ring me and SMS me too. They do this on a daily basis until I respond. They are incessant.

Like the Singaporean heat and humidity.

I rang them up on Monday and I spoke to Mr. Ezybreeze. He is a nice old chap.

I said, “Uncle I am ready for my AC servicing. When are you able to come over?

He replied “Wednesday. Can?”

I was busy on Wednesday morning with work appointments so I responded, “Sorry uncle. I am busy. Cannot. Howzabout Thursday?”

"Can" he replied. 

Done deal.

My cleaning Helper Mery will be at my apartment on Thursday so she can let the maintenance men in. The condensers for my AC units are mounted on brackets outside my apartment and to access them the maintenance guys must climb out my small kitchen window and balance on a narrow ledge. I am on the sixth storey of my complex and there are no safety rails outside. It is a silly design and makes for a dangerous task. When the guys have to re-gas the units they are literally hanging onto the window ledge with one hand and hooking up the gas with the other. It alarms me to watch this. It freaks me out.

It really does.

I always tell Mr. Ezybreeze to make sure that his guys are careful. I say to him, “Please uncle, make sure that your guys don’t fall to their death”.

Mr. Ezybreeze always snorts with some derision when I mention this and he replies, “Don’t worry Mr. Peter. My guys are always safety first.”

Despite Mr. Ezybreeze’s confident nonchalance in this matter I prefer not to be there to witness this hazardous activity. 

I am glad that Mery will be there instead.

24 February 2013

The Aftermath

Russia 1. Ireland 0.

It was a cakewalk really. It was a no contest. I left last night's soiree not too long after the convergence and I was home before 1.00 am. I did however do a follow up of the evening's events and the Russian's were victorious.




I tried to rouse some of the Irish before noon this morning. None of them were answering their phones but I eventually got onto one late this afternoon. His voice was weak and trembling. He was audibly shaken and he muttered "those fookin Ruskis" a number of times. The Russians on the other hand were texting me from 9.00am. They were still out and were taking breakfast. They had switched from vodka to black coffee but they were mocking the Irish and their lack of stamina on the drinking front. On all fronts really.

They were not impressed.

The Russian's took up the drinking challenge last night at the convergence with their normal no-fuss nonchalance. The Irish daringly switched from their preferred swill of Guinness to the Russian vodka and it was a knock out blow.


The Soviet-Gaelic collective moved on to the Marina Bay Sands not long after I left the group. I departed from the Post Bar in the Fullarton Hotel as they moved to the Dom nightclub in the Sands. The Dom night club is owned by the Russians and I suspect that it is also operated by the Russian mafia - perhaps in conjunction with the Singaporean mafia. Both are forces to be reckoned with. I have been to the Dom once before.

Once was enough.

It was very loud.

It was very gregarious.

I shall never set foot in the place again.

Anyway, I won't go into the details. The Russians are still standing – they are dancing actually. A number of the Irish remain missing in action. I will try and track them down tomorrow and I will serve it up to them.

To be sure. To be sure.

23 February 2013

The Russians

It is another Saturday night in Singapore and I am steeling myself. Unusually I have a wealth of social options available to me tonight. The Russians are gathering as are the Irish and the English. I have been invited to all three soirees and I have opted for the Russians - who I will then converge with the Irish. I have disregarded the English. Whilst I have quite a few English mates here in Singapore, I work with them day in and day out and heir pomposity and whining and moaning annoys me. I barely tolerate the majority of them. 

Many are Fuckers.

I have been friends with the Russians for quite some time now and I met this particular group through my friend Natalia who has since gone home to Saint Petersburg. 

I miss her a lot.

Saint Petersburg was once known as Petrogard before the Soviet Communist regime renamed it Leningrad - in 1924. The city reverted to Saint Petersburg in 1991. This was post Perestroika. It is by far the most beautiful city in all of Russia. The architecture is stunning. The Hermitage puts the Louvre to shame. It is an uber museum and art gallery and is the home to some of the greatest works of art ever created. It is enormous and you can get lost in there for weeks. It would be wonderful to get lost in there.

It would be heaven on a stick.

Most of this Russian group of friends that I have are females - they are chicks. They are artists and gallery owners and fashion models. The girls are much younger than me and they are all very tall and beautiful and glamorous. They are the opposite of me really. They are hot.

I am not. 

For some weird reason they have adopted me and I have been accepted into their fold. I am their pet Australian old guy and I don't really know why. The Russians invite me to a lot of functions around town and I go to quite a few - well some anyway. I haven't been out with them for a while though so it will be nice to catch up.

I noticed a while back that all these girls first names end in the letter 'a'. Their surnames are mostly unpronounceable. There is Natalia, Alisa, Olga, Tatiana, Alina, Ekatrina and Anastasia and there are a few others as well but I can't remember their names. When I made this observation Tatiana informed me that every girl's first name in Russia ends with the letter 'a'. There is one exception apparently but I can't recall offhand what this is either. 

My memory is fading as I age.

Some of these girls change the last letter of their first name to 'e' when they come to Singapore. So Alina is now Aline, Alisa is now Alise, and Ekatrina is Kate. When I asked them why they do this they just shrug their shoulders and pout. The Russians do this a lot - shrug and pout.

I quite like it.

When I hang out with these Russians I find myself shrugging and pouting as well and I also find myself saying 'vot' instead of what and 'nyet' instead of 'no'. I wave my hands around too - it is involuntary and I just slip into it. They call me 'darlink' and Pyotr. This is my name in Russian.


Not 'darlink'.

The Russians are very dramatic and moody individuals and they are loud and brash and crazy. The Russians are very emotional and arrogant and they wear their hearts on their sleeves. There seems to be a lot of drama and gossip and scandal in the life of these Russians and I like it very much when they start swearing at each other in their native tongue.

They swear at other people as well.

When we are out they always start off drinking champagne and switch very quickly to vodka. They drink it neat and they guzzle it down. They rarely seem to eat and they all smoke too. When we go out there are generally a lot of European guys hovering around. These guys often try and start up conversations with the Russian girls. They try and chat them up. It is hysterical to see how the Russians flick them off. They are brutal. I sit back and observe it all unfold. I watch giant and handsome young men slink off with their tails between their legs as these Russians mercilessly cast them off.

They say 'poshol nahuj' which is Russian for 'fuck off'.


I mentioned to the Russians that there is also a gathering of the Irish this evening and that these Irish are mostly blokes. I told the Russians that the Irish are gobby and loud and full of bullshit but I like them a lot. I told them this because it is true. The Irish are good friends of mine and like the Russians they are hard core drinking machines.

I think that the convergence will be interesting and it will most definitely be highly entertaining. The Irish are very keen to hook up. The Russians are quite nonchalant but they have agreed to converge.

Both groups have long since given up trying to get me to drink at their frenetic pace or indeed to get me to drink at all. Despite me being an Australian they accept that I am not much of a drinker. I could not possibly keep up with them anyway, even if I wanted to.

Which I don't.

I will likely issue some sort of drinking challenge between these two groups at some point of the evening. I will suggest to the Russians that the Irish are the superior drinkers whilst telling the Irish that the Russians girls can drink them under the table. I will wind them both up and then I will watch the carnage unfold.

It will be very funny. 

When I have witnessed enough mayhem to amuse me I will quietly slink off home to my bed. I don't stay up very late anymore so this will likely be before midnight. I will otherwise probably turn into a pumpkin. 

I have a busy day tomorrow and I have no desire to turn into a pumpkin.