according to the chinese calendar, we are now in the seventh lunar month. this is the ghost month and celebration of the hungry ghost festival. to pay homage to the deceased, who are believed to visit the living, people make food offerings and burn paper. this started about the same time as the riots in london and, before i found out why, i almost thought there were (very friendly and calm though) riots here as well.
another reason for celebrations was the national day and singapore's 46th birthday. this was the ninth august and a very nice day as it also turned out to be a public holiday. there was a parade and a real hullaballoo with a play in something like seven acts, a military show and lots and lots of fireworks. we watched the fireworks down by the river, together with the rest of singapore's population.
thanks to the great risks i have been taking (like posting that note on the internations forum!), i have been rewarded with the company of some really nice people, a.k.a. my new friends. we've done a lot of nice things lately. a couple of weeks ago, we went to an island outside singapore (artificial, but still very nice). it's called kusu island, which means turtle island.the weather here in singapore is really strange sometimes. for example when we were lying on the beach, the light breeze started to be more like a stronger wind and all of a sudden the sky was full of dark, dark clouds. we gathered our things and managed to find some shelter (not very difficult on an artificial island where there are small kind of huts everywhere). it looked like a storm was coming our way and we could see how it was raining further out to sea. was looking forward to a heavy shower, but nothing came. other days, it can be sunny, barely a cloud to be seen and half an hour later the rain is just pouring down. i've realised i have nothing against rain as long as it's not cold. the rain here is just wonderful, not to mention the air afterwards - almost fresh and crisp.
last friday, we went to the monthly internations event. they had managed to reserve one of the most spectacular venues in singapore, the roof top bar ku dé ta at marina bay sands (the boat bit in the picture below). amazing view over singapore. unfortunately, they squeezed in too many people, but it was a nice evening.
after that we went to the night bazar and had a look. very crowded and lots of different clothes, mainly malay, indonesian and arab, textiles and food. the streets were also decorated with lights, just as we do for christmas. it's very interestng being in a country with such a diverse population. the most obvious to me is the variety of food you can get, everything from chinese food to indian food, but also all sorts of different western food. the national holidays reflect the many different religions in the country as there are muslim, christian and chinese holidays (and probably some more that i don't know about).
the rest of the week will be quite busy with a lot of international events. tomorrow, i'm going to a pub quiz, on thursday to a swedish after work, friday drinks at the american embassy, saturday french picnic in the botanical garden (i.e. with cheese and wine) and then to a jazz café in arab street. busy week, but looking forward to it.
finishing off with a funny picture of some of the things you could buy at the market.. i mean, who wouldn't want a perfume by hogo boos?
ps. they called me from the medical centre today to let me know i can pick up my results..