Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Short, Singapore

I walked to work today.

Last night I was told by a fifty-something Singaporean chap that my hotel was no more than ten minutes' walk from the office, a datum expressed with disgust at my laziness for taking the MRT to work and back every day so far. I resolved to shrug off my slothfulness and walk instead. It's not a difficult route: you walk straight down North Bridge Road and then turn left at some point after you've crossed the river. Or if you're me, you meander slightly and end up taking a series of right-angle turns as you iterate closer and closer to a 45 degree walk across Singapore.

It's not difficult, but it took me twenty minutes. Unless the Singaporeans all think that walking pace is a leisurely 7.5 miles per hour (which is unlikely, given how slowly most of them shuffle through MRT stations, like so many well-behaved zombies), I think he was rather underestimating the time it would take to get from chewing a bagel to sitting in front of a login window. Still, it got me up and out, and also made me repulsively sweaty; even on a dull, not-particularly-hot-for-Singapore morning I arrived at work, my shirt soaked in sweat. Lucky that I was only wearing shorts rather than full length trousers or I might have expired before I reached the office.

Under my desk is a large backpack full of all the clothes I couldn't fit into my suitcase the last time I flew out of Singapore, so I rummaged in there and found a fairly horrible polo necked shirt, which I changed into, planning on getting out of the shorts and into my smart trousers a bit later. A pair of brown dress shoes and black socks doesn't look so wonderful when coupled with bare knees and olive-green shorts. Particularly not a pair of brown dress shoes that seem to have something growing on them (never should have let them get wet and then stuffed them in the bag last month...)

Today we had a photoshoot though, and despite my suggestion that I get changed into some decent attire, the photographer and the rest of the office clamoured that I should stick to what I was wearing, so there's now going to be documentary evidence of my crimes against wardrobes. I was hoping to conceal my legs behind a gigantic company logo, but the photographer demanded I lift that up in the air, so my knees and socks are going to be visible for all to see. I suppose the only thing I can do is change my appearance completely before the photos are published early next year (which shouldn't be so bad - grow the hair out, shave off my beard and nobody will ever know that I'm me...)

So today I've learned that you can't always trust Singaporeans.

I've learned that you should get dressed as soon as you get to the office, if not before.

And I've learned that there should always be something exciting underneath your desk. But not so exciting you worry about mould breaking out on it.


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