Saturday, September 15, 2007

jews, hindus, & dragons...oh my!

after a "normal" week of work, i got a bit older on friday (apparantly alongside mr. chekhov). but decided to keep it to myself, and a low-key affair. i wound up meeting up w/ another one of mala's uni friends here, yu-ling. she brought along jason, who happened to be a P&G newhire. we met up for a late dinner at glutton's bay, on the esplanade, for the usual hawker fare, then headed out for drinks. the singapore sling is by far one of the most overrated drinks around.

the conversation, as i've found with all of the locals i've met, was quite insightful. there's something deeper than what the typical ex-pat/visitor lives here. while it definitely is a clean, safe, western locale, this just barely scratches the surface to what's really going on. ranging all things from government policies and the press - there is more than meets the eye.

got up early to a rainy day, and headed out to Maghain Aboth Synagogue near Burgis/Raffles. i came at the invitation of Alex, a coworker from London who's been here for ~1 year on EBT (the arrangement i've got here). given most of our encounters back in the US involved drinking and music, i never quite took Alex for the religious type, much less someone of the Jewish faith, but this is apparantly something he's rekindled since being out here. today marked the end of Rosh Hashanah, so the service was an interesting one. this was the second time i'd attended services at a Synagogue (the first time being w/ my friend Jen in AL), and despite the aesthetic differences, found much of the ceremony to be similar to that of Hinduism (the chants, the separation of men & women, etc). i spent most of the time flipping through my copy of the Torah, and fidgeting w/ the hat thingie you have to wear on the back of your head.

after the services, i joined Alex for a lunch at the temple, and got to meet some of his non-work friends in town, most of whom were MBAs from Tel Aviv and/or NYC at one of the local unis. through my wit and charm, i MIGHT have been able to recruit a few more patrons to week in review.

given Alex was observing the Sabbath (day of rest), he was waking back to his place - since he could not use anything that involves work (cars, trains, etc). we walked to the MRT + said goodbye (until sundown, when he can come back out...not unlike a vampire).

i decided to make my way to Chinatown, so hopped lines to the aptly named Chinatown MRT stop. where i spent the next couple of hours. i had already heard so before, but Chinatown was a bit disappointing. in itself, it's odd to find a Chinatown in a city that is almost 70% Chineses, and you could also tell that the city has done quite a bit of "dressing up" of the area. i wandered through the streets + stalls, finding my way to both the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore, as well as one of the most touristy Bhuddhist temples EVER. i even had a kebab for a snack!

...and no, this guy is NOT doing what it looks like.

but given it's the sabbath, and i should be resting, i'll just give you the link to the pictures from my day's jaunt:

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