Wednesday, August 08, 2012


Tomorrow is National Day in Singapore so today my employer gave us cakes and beer. The beer was only Tiger (Asia's answer to distilled water, from the taste) but the cake was good enough for me to fill my moustache with icing as time and again I missed my mouth. It's harder than you think to cram cupcakes in your craw.

At just after 6 I left, walking down to meet my wife at the park by Speaker's Corner. Speaker's Corner isn't like its namesake in Hyde Park. You can't just turn up there and start yelling, not without a written submission to the government first. So I sat on a bench and wrote an email to one of my compadres in England.

I looked down to see a spider on my leg. Not one of those daddy-long-leg types with limbs unjustifiably long; this was a compact, furry spider with enormous teeth, the size of my little fingernail, jumping up my body with malice aforethought. But I'm not a fly, and so unrattled, I blew it off onto the ground. It jumped back on my leg. I blew it off again.

I began to worry that rather than be arrested for shouting things without permission, I'd be hauled off for unscheduled blowing in a public place, but nobody came to arrest me or the spider. A man walked into the middle of the park and began to do half-hearted kung fu moves, stopping every minute or so to wander across the grass, either summoning more chi, or talking to himself. I was going to ask him if he had any special spider fighting techniques, but he was a big lad and might have slapped me. Instead, I walked to the other end of the park (no venomous looking spiders there) and waited for my wife.

I saw someone else sit on the bench, but they didn't wave their arms in dismay or jump up and down, nor thwack at a spider in their lap with a rolled up newspaper. I suppose I must have been lucky. I wish I'd been luckier this morning; while doing intervals around Boat Quay, I ended up with a second beard of dead flies on my neck. This running isn't as glamorous as you might think.


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