Thursday, August 09, 2012

Religious experience

This morning we went to the zoo and a sloth tried to hold my wife's hair. This afternoon we went to a Christian barbecue at a swimming pool. I thought it was just a barbecue at a swimming pool, so I was a little surprised.

Never mind slow moving forest animals and Canadians. Christians and barbecues go together like auto and da fe, but we'll overlook the Spanish Inquisition; it's not like they were burning people over hot coals today. There wasn't any barbecue, as it turned out, there was some laksa and a fruit salad. And some singing, led with an acoustic guitar.

I've been ambushed by religious services before (notably Hong Kong, where a 'flute recital' turned out to be some sort of revival meeting with added music) but there was a swimming pool, and cake, which ameliorated the blow. I thought it was a purely irreligious swimming pool and barbecue, and so I was caught a bit on the hop, but that wasn't so bad. We didn't have to suffer 95 verses of kum ba ya, after all.

Christian swimming pools are the same as other swimming pools (rectangular and full of water) which is disappointing. Firstly because a cruciform swimming pool, while less suited to doing lengths, would be more appropriate, and secondly because it didn't turn into wine half way through. In fact there was no booze at all, apart from the bottle we very quickly stashed away when we saw everyone was being abstemious.

Everyone was very friendly, but it was odd that every man was wearing a shirt while in the water. They weren't very religious looking shirts, but that everyone in the water was concealing their chest and midriff struck me as a bit odd. Was there something they knew that we didn't? Was it to stop sunburn, or was the pool so overchlorinated that it was going to burn my flesh?

If the latter, I'd have preferred somebody to turn the other cheek and tell me, but nobody said a word. Apart from a fat kid who splashed me, but, feeling the milk of human kindness, I refrained from holding his head underwater for five minutes while shouting "that's how it feels!" over and over again.

I held his head underwater for three minutes.

After swimming, I was fed lots of cake, then we took a bus back to the centre of Singapore. If we'd been more faithful we would have not missed our stop and had to trudge back on ourselves 500 yards, but then I suppose if we'd been more faithful we would not have been going out on the lash after the pool party. What does it all mean?


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