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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Call me an SPG!

My South African friend leaves tonight on a plane.

I remember when I wrote a post in 2009, "To Spg or not to Spg" with my musings, an anonymous reader left a comment on my tag board calling me an SPG. That supposedly derogatory term never did sting me even though I am aware of the image I portrayed, but that day it stung. To see it in print on my blog.

My brothers came to my defense on my tag board, which fueled the anonymous reader, and the comments ping pong-ed. To be honest, I don't think the comment was malicious; the reader was merely stating what he/she thought even though factually incorrect. Perhaps it's my fluent language, perhaps the party girl image I portrayed, or maybe it's the happy pictures I have with Ang Mohs!
Discounting the fact that for each happy picture with an Ang Moh, i have 100 other happy pictures with Asians.

My South African friend who is boarding the plane right this moment told me 2 nights ago,

"Christine, of my 2 years here, you were 80% responsible of my happy moments here."

Now before you associate happy moments as happy endings of a dodgy massage, our happy endings were those of savoring the best tiramisu @Shots before going separate ways.

My South African friend who is boarding the plane right this moment wrote to me yesterday,  

"I always felt like you were one of the only people in Singapore who cared if I was okay."

It then dawned upon me. Damn right you are, 
I AM an SPG. A Singapore Promotion Girl.

When I failed thrice at being a Singapore Airline Girl, i didn't give up my aspirations of traveling. With time management and financial planning, I could travel almost every 2 months on my own accord. My father thought it was a better idea than cleaning toilets for free travel anyway.

I am so proud to be a Singaporean, so proud of my Asian roots. I so badly wanted to represent Singapore, be an ambassador that I joined beauty pageant of sorts but i didn't win. And when my job application to the Singapore Tourism Board got rejected, I found myself projecting my aspirations on…the expatriates.

Singapore, a melting pot of culture, has seen an influx of expats on our sunny shores. Just arriving in a foreign land, 99% of them spend their weekends wasted in Attica.

It is almost inevitable for the expat to get wasted on the weekend because that seems to be the only place to meet people, the only thing to do than face the four walls at home. After all, they know no one else. I remember feeling pity for this 40+ Ang Moh buying a single movie ticket for Avatar at Cineleisure. I was this close to ask if i could join him since i was watching it any way. My friend pulled me back.

Maybe it's because I've lived in a foreign land before and I had regrets not immersing in the Australian culture truly. Or maybe it's my way of seeing Singapore through an expatriate's eyes so I'll never get bored of the little red dot. I can't deny the sly motives in my evil mind.

I believe in the Heavens in making paths cross. I befriended these expatriates either through work, friends or social events. When i do meet them and we get along (none of the sleazy douche bags) the Mother Theresa in me surfaces. I feel I have to save them from clutches of Sluttica Attica and show them a Singaporean good time.

First i introduce them to friends, showing them real friends are made not out of loud music but audible conversations.
To satisfy the need to party, i take them to HDBs, to see how the Singaporeans live.
Next we go on a food trail of char kway tiao, xiao long bao, durians, frog porridge and the works. They all love roti prata but appalled at my favourite BLACK carrot cake. They asked where's the carrot cake and insisted I must have got the order wrong.
I showed them my school (Ben gate crashed my lecture in Ngee Ann Poly)
I even invited them to Chinese New Year family reunions. Teaching them the values of unity, showing them the Asian hospitality and perhaps cover them with a little warmth away from home.
I also showed them the local girls by making them play poker with a deck of FHM Singapore playing cards.
I am such an SPG that when the friend of my Australia girlfriend was coming to intern in Singapore, she asked if i could care for him because he cared for her when she was abroad.

It's like Paying it Forward! A good deed for a good deed.

I obliging did but enjoyed myself in the next 6 months where i rediscovered MY little red dot all over again!
He shared with me the wonderful encounters from Attica and his budget student life living in a dodgy hostel with foreign workers in the overhead bunker jerking off. He had a vibrating bed for 6 months. No need for Osim chair!

I took him to his first fashion show at Mandarin Gallery's opening and he was stoked. 
Without my expatriate friends, i wouldn't have found like-minded local friends to do outrageous stuff like this
 Or discover on Haji Lane that there's a little shop where you can play wii all afternoon ($5/hr)
Without them, i wouldn't have spend afternoons releasing my creative side, learning art from them who visit Louvre and sit for hours admiring Mona Lisa.
Neither would i have discovered the nook and crannies of Singapore and find where the best alcoholic coffee (Wild Honey, Mandarin Gallery) lives.
Without them who take life less serious, i wouldn't have people to play dress up with and win best dressed (whom Brent graciously rejected splitting the prize, allowing me to have all $1000 and hotel stay).
Without my expatriate friends, i wouldn't have appreciated Singapore better, i wouldn't have exchanged life stories, i wouldn't have enriched my life's experiences.
Without my expatriate friends, I definitely wouldn't have swallowed sperm.
Or ate the gigantic tuna eyeball or newly born eel.
The odd thing was i initiated all these weird stuff and merely found partners-in-crime. In all honesty, many Singaporean women hesitate befriending expatriates. They feel that they are here for fun, they fear that they're a hit bang-and-run. Fidelity encompasses all race and culture and my best expatriate friends have been more respectful and gentlemanly to me than any of the local ones can be.

My dear Ang Moh friends, 
i admire your ability to live out of water, i thank you for making me grow through our conversations, i thank you for making me realise who i am. I love your candid approach to life, i love your take on living life to the fullest but most importantly i love you for loving me.

Eventually, they all leave. They all leave my little red dot, they all leave me. Eventually, their lust for adventures and ambitions continue. Their innate nomad nature, a new exotic destination beckons.

It's a lonely life of an International Spy. As much as i exchanged information about Singapore with you, i garnered information about France, Germany, America, England, South Africa, Japan, Italy and more.

My little red dot welcomes you back any time, so long as it doesn't get submerged or invaded. And if you don't mind drinking toilet water in time to come.

Just so you know, i'll never say......

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Stepped into the Black Circuit with JOHNNIE WALKER®

JOHNNIE WALKER®, the award-winning world’s number one Scotch whisky and global partner of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1™ team since 2005 adds a Brazilian twist to the Black Circuit Lounge.
I was invited to experience the ultimate VIP race party experience last weekend and it was a party to remember.
Invitees either get a Johnnie Walker keychain or dog tag chain with their smart card invite.
My routine when in KL is always to hit Mdm Kwan for the beef rendang, then foot massage along Bukit Bintang in food coma state, finishing off with haggling to death at Petaling Street (imitations galore). 

This time to KL was different with Johnnie Walker. To give us an inside look into the stylish and sophisticated world of motor racing, they checked us into downtown Kuala Lumpur, Crown Regency Serviced Apartment that was a stone’s throw from event place, KL Live and right smack in the hottest street in town. 
Then, they took us to Salam (you can race 24/7 I hear, open to public) for the need for speed.
Formula 1 race cars run at 300km/hr, these babies go at 65km/hr, they were already enough to give me an adrenaline rush! Feeling the vibration of the car around your frame, the rattling of the seat beneath you, the wind pressing hard against your visor, it’s no wonder I tweeted immediately after.
Tek Glam shower caps underneath the smelly helmets.
Then there was a lot of feasting, local food, and all the better.
I love Malay food so imagine my delight when my M’sian friend took me to a hawker where I can dish all I can/like onto my plate. Only SGD5!
Jalan Alor, another popular spot for feasting. We recommend Meng Kee & its chicken fish! No,they didn’t mate a chicken and a fish. Just that the fried fish does taste a teeny bit like chicken. We spot a creative Uncle who decorated his bean curd & grass jelly stall with Pandas!
Our friend once got cheated that from afar, she walked excitedly towards the stall thinking they sell 
her favourite cuddly bears. 
Then it was the big night, the very exclusive and highly anticipated event that saw many Ferraris arriving from Singapore..
Glamourous gold and stylish black, this duo came in coordinating outfits!
Unfortunately I only caught their asses.
We were to register beforehand so as to participate fully in this state-of-art brand interactive party.
Armed with our smart cards, we paint the town red!
With the roving pretty hot ambassadors, they set out to mingle with guests and offer assistance.
The first pit spot was the Journey of Taste where an ambassador taught us how to discover the powerful layered flavours of JOHNNIE WALKER®.
Like at a perfume counter, we were taught to smell, taste and savour the woody/ spicy/ fruity notes of the drink.
The party was attended by the whos-who of M’sia and there were plenty of beautiful people. Infused with the pulsating energy and glamour of Brazil, the JOHNNIE WALKER® Striding Man to Step Inside the Black Circuit has become a must-attend party for the stylish and sophisticated. 
A global phenomena, JOHNNIE WALKER® Black Circuit Lounge VIP race parties always delivers exclusive insider-access into the extraordinary world of motorsport and the high-flying lives of progressive Formula 1™ drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. Such is proven when we were invited to try the application where one can transport one’s self into the body of an F1 racing driver.

You can also experience it yourself here!

JOHNNIE WALKER really makes everyone happy, even the bartenders!
A stellar international cast was lined-up to entertain us at the luxury event, featuring multi-platinum producer and DJ-to-the-stars Clinton Sparks from the USA, stunning Latin American DJ Von Kiss, DJ Mr. Gin from Taiwan and DJ Nikki from Malaysia. I was excited to see much acclaimed Clinton Sparks, who has produced for Lady Gaga, Akon, Pitbull, Ludacris and the Notorious B.I.G., making his debut in my books.

 The crowd just went WILD.
 That's an artistic wild photo. You see her arms flailing?
Like a typical Singaporean, i was stoked with the freebies.
Polaroid for keepsake!
Cutting edge technology, take a picture at the photo booth and
have it uploaded onto your Facebook wall.
Cocktails imbued with a Brazilian flavor, a Carnival atmosphere with high-octane performances and vibrant costumes, the night couldn’t get any better.
A party is not a party without memorable pictures like those from the Hangover movie.

 Beam me a JOHNNIE WALKER please!
Iron man spotted!
As committed advocates of responsible drinking, JOHNNIE WALKER® will also provide guests with complimentary mineral water when they leave the party and have ample taxis on standby to ferry guests home safely.
An undisputed unrivalled party of a kind, JOHNNIE WALKER promises to raise the bar for the next installation. I can’t wait to see how they will out-do themselves, it’ll be a challenge but I’m sure the party team will continue showing fans how to keep on walking!
After all, JOHNNIE WALKER popped my whisky cherry.
for party invites and event news. 
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