• Campaigning for courtesy
    April 16, 2015
    I love living in Singapore – everyone who knows me knows that much. You would also know that I have little or nothing in life to complain about other than pedestrian etiquette or rather the complete absence of it. And since I/we walk everywhere this is a regular irritation.
    Pedestrian etiquette requires people who are walking two or more abreast to assume a single file during a passing manoeuver ie when a pedestrian is on approach from the opposite direction. It’s...
  • In search of shade
    March 17, 2015
    There are a few signs that you’ve lived in Singapore way too long: (1) the 32 degrees (celsius) in ‘winter’ feels significantly cooler than the 32 degrees in summer and you find yourself reaching for a cardigan (or ‘jumper’ as we say in Australia). (2) You pronounce the number ‘three’ as ‘tree’ and pluralize words that are already plural eg underwears, and (3) you have a profound fear of the sun. 
    This fear of the sun will have you...
  • Sleep is for wimps
    February 16, 2015
    Apparently I need a ‘sleep coach’ which is a disturbing concept in itself. I’m hoping this person would not be in my bedroom with a whistle watching me not sleep apart from which, I don’t understand why my erratic sleeping habits need coaching into ‘normal’ anyway.
    36% of our lives are spent sleeping. If you live to 90, that’s a whopping 32 years of sleeping. Imagine what you could achieve if you cut that back to just 16 years...
  • Dude, where's my phone?
    January 16, 2015
    The first step for any addiction is to admit you have a problem. I don’t have a problem but in our household of two, someone seems to think I do so I’m about to dispel that belief.
    Nomophobia is the fear of being without your mobile phone. The number of sufferers is on the rise which is not surprising as it no doubt correlates with smartphone uptake rather than a growing inability for otherwise 'normal' people to cope without...
  • How to make a baby courtesy of taxi driver #42
    November 17, 2014
    I’ve mentioned before that I do not like taxis – I’d rather walk, catch the MRT or an ambulance. Taxi drivers in Singapore tend to assume when picking up an Ang Mo (foreigner) that you would like the island excursion as opposed to the direct route. And since I am not a tourist, know where I am going AND am process-obsessed, nothing irritates me more than a well-crafted best-practice plan of getting from A to B thwarted by a cunning...
  • Sayang ah! (Such a pity!)
    October 16, 2014
    Watching TV and movies in Singapore, in particular the kind of shows we like is an art form thanks to the rigours of Singaporean censorship laws. Swear words, even words the average person might no longer consider a swear word like bloody or Hell are edited as are scenes involving sex, drugs or violence. Quite often we’re left staring blankly and confused as a scene jumps inexplicably over the good parts to something more acceptable, thankfully or we would be...
  • Opening the Gates of Hell
    September 16, 2014

    It is that time of year again for the Gates of Hell to open so the souls of the dead can once again roam the earth. If you are in Singapore at this time of the year you will come across food and other offerings in the street for example mandarins, roasted pig, bowls of rice and especially made Chinese cake.  It is considered very bad luck (and disrespectful) if you happen to be on your way home from a...

  • The trouble with Leigh is...
    August 17, 2014
    My name, Leigh, means meadow, which is a curious meaning to apply to a person although I do like the outdoors. Leigh and Lee are the same and traditionally, Leigh was for boys and Lee was for girls, but that does not seem to apply anymore, and obviously I have the boy's spelling and I am not. 
    I have never thought much about my name—it’s not an unusual name and it is recognizable in the west, but in Singapore it presents some...
  • What are we working for here at our lessons...
    July 17, 2014
    I’ve just returned from a trip to my hometown of Rockhampton (Queensland, Australia) to celebrate 35 years since we, my girls and I, finished our senior year at the Rockhampton Girls’ Grammar School . But it was a celebration of much more than that. What we know now but didn’t appreciate then – we were in a hurry to be done and out of there – is that we had just spent five years of our lives in a confined...
  • It is the time, the place, the motion
    May 26, 2014
    Back in 1978 when Grease was the word, I was on a school tour bussing our way around Tasmania . Grease the movie had just come out and like everyone else in the day we were obsessed with it, in particular, the music, featuring our very own Olivia Newton-John as Sandy. The soundtrack went into the bus cassette player and stayed there on repeat for 10 days. Imagine how traumatised that poor bus driver would have been by the end...
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