Rumours about Singapore being boring are greatly exaggerated.

It’s now been a month, or four weeks since we arrived in Singapore.

A lot of people ask us how I am doing and how we are doing here?
I’d say my mood is mostly sunny with some clouds here and there. I really, really like it here.

I have to admit, it’s a weird feeling to be at a place, living here, getting to know what you like about it and slowly considering it home, and at the same time not working, not meeting a team almost every morning and making things.

When we left Vienna and gave up our jobs, people often asked me, sometimes already feeling they knew the answer, if this was liberating. I never said yes, because I don’t see this as some sort of a self-finding trip or as escaping something I hated. Yes, part of it feels liberating, as everything new does. It’s a great adventure after all, you like to feel brave and what we experienced and learned in only a few weeks is amazing.

That shouldn’t make the impression that it is all easy cheesy. Part of it is stressful, there’s no doubt about that. We have the luxury of not following a daily routine, a schedule that we have to live by. That said, we aren’t on holiday either. So sometimes, I find myself with a bad conscious when I am too focused on work, thinking I’d rather go out there and shoot some photos and hang around and explore with Stephanie. Sometimes, when I do that, I have a bad conscious about not writing emails, or getting information about this or that.
And last but surely not least: I’m missing my friends and my family. Yes, you can write long emails and yes you can obviously have Skype chats here and there. But I’m a sentimental bugger and that doesn’t really do it for me. It has to, at the moment.

So what have we been up to?

A lot, actually.

Apart from the great weekend we spent in Hanoi, which deserves a separate write-up, we were quite busy exploring Singapore.

Pulau Ubin

We went cycling on Pulau Ubin, an island belonging to Singapore, where for now, development is halted.

Blujazz Café

The Blue Jazz Café and later Night of the Living Bass on Halloween weekend showed me that there actually is a music scene here.

Hot.

Red Bull Flugtag, the first of its kind here on what people told me was the hottest day of the year.

Monster etc.

Universal Studios Halloween Special, or standing in line for three hour.

Exploring Singapore’s arts and culture scene.

An orderly life?

There was a little MiniMart, an art market featuring young Singaporean artists, where we got this perfectly themed piece from Sif Doodle, whom I hopefully be able to interview for the blog.

The National Library held Halloween outdoor Night Screenings and showed regional scary movies. As they were apparently too loud the day before, they decided to play the movies basically without sound when we were there. Typically Singaporean, I was told.

Objectifs Films

Objectifs is the hub for the local film and photography scene and they organized free Watch Local! Rooftop Screenings. We went there twice and got a bit of an intro into Singaporean movie culture.

Then there was an event called 10 Years of Shooting Home, also organized by Objectifs. This is where we met Philipp, a German photographer, who has been living and working here for 8 years and explored Singapore visually, and Jean, a documentary photographer who founded her own venture Logue, a while ago.

Oh, and there was also the Singapore Writers Festival, but instead of going there, I got a book by one of the reading authors there, about the life of Malay in Singapore.

Malay Sketches

I guess more about the films, photography and books as a means to expose myself to some local frames of reference will come in a separate blog post.

Oh, and thanks to Simon Kemp we also went to a screening at the Italian Film Festival Singapore, where we watched a short documentary about Refugees in Cinecitta, the Italian film studio. And there was the German Film Festival, where we watched This Ain’t California and Combat Girl and will see Hell on Saturday. (How does that sound, eh?)

Meeting people

I also met people from twitter whom I thought are interesting. Which doesn’t always mean planners. And people not on twitter. And of course interesting planners, and heads of planning. And other people.

We met a really cool Singaporean couple via my lovely ex-colleague Monika, who gave us a great tour across Tiong Bahru and an impressive culinary Hawker Center tour.

There are, obviously, also a bunch of lovely Austrian’s in Singapore and not all of them sell awesome sausages in Chinatown, some of them also work as designers (a few of them, actually) or in advertising.

Singapore is a small city. The different scenes aren’t that big, and they are, at least a bit, connected.

There are some great people here, and an interesting vibe that goes beyond the usual ‘Singapore is too clean, too much of a circus/zoo/Disney World’ that I’ve also been guilty of spreading, after spending only a few days here in June. Yes, it’s undoubtedly very business focused, it’s materialistic and driven. But, at the same time, and as always, this isn’t everything, and there’s much more to be discovered.

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  • http://will-humphrey.com/ Will Humphrey

    Very nice, Thomas. Glad to hear you’re enjoying it.

  • http://researchgeek.wordpress.com Andrew Jerina

    Lovely stuff and a testament to the fact you can find interesting stuff going on pretty much anywhere if you’re willing to scratch the surface a bit.