10 March 2013

Small Talk

In many of the shopping centers here in Singapore small 'pop-up' markets often appear. They appear most frequently on weekends and they are referred to as "pop-up" stores. This is because they literally just pop up. Out of nowhere. They are generally here today and gone tomorrow.

In America Shopping Centres are referred to as Shopping Malls. I have no idea why. My spelling auto check keeps changing the word 'Centre' to "Center" on my MacBook Air. 

My migration to Apple technology is relatively new and I have not yet worked out how to change the language settings from "American English" to "English English" but it is however beginning to annoy me. The word "Centre" now appears to me with red underscore and my computer is telling me that this is a misspelling. 

Which it most definitely not.

"American English" indeed well there is an oxymoron and a half. I actually hope that there is an "Australian English" auto check spelling option because I can then throw in words like "Strewth", "Cooee" and "Fair dinkum" without the red underscore. This post is already littered with the underscore and it really pissing me off. Interestingly the word "pissing" is under-scoreless.

I will now type in the word "Fucker". 


It is also under under-scoreless! 

I assume it is therefore in the Webster dictionary. I shouldn't really be surprised. 

There are a lot of Fuckers in the US of A.

So back to these pop-up stores. I have come across many before here in Singapore. They usually specialize in a single line of item and they offer products that are heavily discounted. The Singaporeans love them. Anything that is discounted here will create a flurry of interest and it will gather a crowd. A bargain is one of the most sought after items to the locals - no matter what the object might be. I have previously bought pillows and cushions from these pop up stores and sheets and blankets too. Pop-up Traders will normally leave the original price label on these items and then put the discounted price label next to it. For comparison. Savings can be up to 80%.

In Australia we would normally be a bit suspicious of such sales in a 'pop up' situation. We refer to these things as being sold "off the back of a truck". The implication is that the items may not have been legally acquired and they have likely been stolen. Theft is the reason for the heavy discounts and these items are 'hot'. This may also be the case here in Singapore. 

I don't really know. 

I haven't asked.

As I was meandering through the Novena shopping Centre this afternoon I noticed the gathering of a crowd. People were sprinting towards it. I was en route to my local Cold Storage to get some milk for I had run out. The Cold Storage is a local supermarket. Think Woolworths, Safeway, Wal-Mart, Tesco, Waitrose or Carrefour. Interesting, Woolworths, Tesco and Waitrose have been red underscored but Carrefour is not! The Americans have accepted the French.

That is strange.

Carrefour closed their doors here in Singapore early last year. They ceased trading. I was quite disappointed when this happened as their range of cheeses was excellent and their chocolate mousse were to die for.

Virtually every paragraph I have written now has these red underscore marks in them. As soon as I finish this post I am going to work out how to change the settings.

I don't like it at all. 

Cold Storage is the brand name of a local supermarket chain but they do in fact have a cold storage section. In Cold Storage. It is where the milk and other dairy products are displayed and it was where I was heading.

The sudden gathering of a crowd though piqued my interest. It aroused my curiosity and distracted me from my mission to get some milk. I immediately suspected that a 'pop-up" store had been established and this was indeed the case. Quite a lot of people had gathered at this set up and more were rapidly arriving. The store was set up within a rectangle of benches and the product that they were selling was tins of food. There were boxes of these tins stacked high within the rectangle and I could see that cash and product were being exchanged at a frenetic pace. The Singaporeans refer to tins as cans. Which can be a little confusing. 

As I am about to reveal.

Even though I was a fair distance from the store itself I spied tins of my favorite brand of tuna on display. Tuna in brine. Jumbo size. These are normally quite expensive here on the Island and sell for about $10 each. I eat my tuna with salad and I spread it on toast - with a little mayonnaise and sometimes with a squeeze of lemon juice. 

I eat it all the time.

I was fortunately carrying my umbrella with me at the time. I normally do. It can rain suddenly and violently here on the island and I do not like getting drenched. So although the throng of people was deep when I arrived at the pop up store I was able to prod and beat my way to the front of the pack with relative ease. I caught the attention of one of the sales attendants and pointed at the stack of tuna cans.

"How much?" I enquired.

"Two dollars" he replied.

"One can. Can?" I asked.

"Can" he said.

"Can" I responded.

Then he gave me two. 

I think the second 'can' was taken literally and not in the normal Singaporean way. 

The can-can is also a risqué dance that was first performed in French ballrooms and brothels in the early part of the nineteenth century. It involves a lot of skirt lifting and high kicking and the exposure of stockinged legs. I think it was actually outlawed for a while as it was considered too raunchy during the Victorian period.

I didn't really mind buying the extra can of tuna through the miscommunication. Two cans for four dollars is a bargain in anyone’s book. I marched home triumphantly with my cans in hand. 

Then I realized that I had forgotten the milk.

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