Singapore Sling Fling

Singapore is not my favourite.  Or so I thought…


It is hot, it is humid, it is stifling.  We arrived at midnight, and there was much faffing around before we arrived at the hotel.  Tired, hungry, and fed up with being on the move, I flopped into bed for a cathartic cry and fell to sleep.


The next day I was up at 5:30. Chats with my Wonder Women Fi, Philipa and Ranae in our DM group.  Down for breakfast.  Oh they do a great breakfast in the big hotels in Asia.  From Thailand, to Hong Kong, to Singapore, the fusion and variety is generally sublime. The coffee was shit though.


We had a meeting at the university cancelled as our host was unwell, so the morning was given to us for free time.  There were plans to head over to Little India for some shopping, and I opted out.  I am enjoying being on my own so much.  I like me.  I like my music.  I like reading.  I like being on my own so much.  It used to terrify me.  Now, it does not.  I relish it.


I needed to get some toggs as I forgot mine again.  So I peeled myself out of my cuddly king-size bed and hoofed it to ground level for a look around and some shopping.


A wall of wet heat blasted at me before I even managed to step outside.


I asked the bellman where the nearest shopping area was.  He laughed, and the man stepping out of the cab overheard our exchange and said “This is Singapore, there’s shopping literally everywhere.” And he was correct in his assertion.


So I turned left and landed in the lap of consumerism.  Not my favourite.  I did manage to get a lovely vintage bathing suit.  Feel a bit like middle aged Sophia Lauren when wearing it.  That’s a nice way to feel.


We had a meeting scheduled at a boutique agency that specializes in Real Estate comms.  They are based high up in an office block on Clarke Quay.  The views were stunning, and they office reminded me of my own.  The creatives were based around the corner and the two managing directors had huge desks covered in kitsch and creative trinkets.  Our host Sandi was warm and friendly and incredibly knowledgeable.  His friend and colleague Jasmine popped in and joined our conversation.  She’s an absolute rockstar!


They gave us a vast selection of Singaporean treats and nibbles and some sticky sweet coffee.  The warmth and hospitality was absolutely gobsmacking.  This was my favourite agency so far.


Directly after the meeting it was off to Raffles for a Singapore sling.  Not my favourite drink ever.  But it was the foundation for an incredibly long and interesting adventure.


That coffee kept me up all night.  But oh my goodness I am glad it did.  I had dinner and chats with my darling Ranae and we worked out a strategy including many-a-cunning-stunt to save the world.  Think we might have also worked out some plans to manage some of the stunning cunts we have to manage at times.  Have I mentioned that I Love Ranae?  Because I fucking Love that staunch, beautiful, gentle soul so much.


And then, I drank with strangers until the wee hours.  It was perfection.  Fiona stopped down to find me but I must have been out the back with my new friends and frenemy (a tall young man who called me ma’am and doesn’t believe in climate change…ouch, and ouch again, with a side of WTF).  I was complimented by another in the group for the tolerance that I showed toward him, considering how much we all had imbibed.  Thanks for that sir.  I appreciate you noticing that I am the poster girl for self-control.  Then again, maybe not.


Morning came and messages from my peers bounced across my screen.  I had a long leisurely bath and made my way down to breakfast with my friends.


The meeting was great, and another bubbly and feisty comms professional shared their passion and their story with our group.  It was agency culture (corporate), so I was not as enthusiastic with questioning as I had been with the boutique and niche agencies.


Then we went to lunch at a chicken rice place.  I abandoned my vegetarianism for a taste of the chicken.  It was okay.  I will go back to being a vegetarian now.


After lunch we headed to a mall for coffees and discussed the fire in the London flats.  The thing about being in the business of sharing information, is that we are painfully aware that bad news travels faster and farther than any other force on earth.  Tragedy pushes a lot of the buttons as far as News Values are concerned.  Personally though, I fucking hate the helplessness of seeing tragedy and not being given a call to action or the opportunity to DO SOMETHING.  Amplifying news of tragedy and fear for the sake of amplifying news and getting clicks and eyeballs across your channels makes me feel a bit sad for the communications industry.  Saying that, being well informed of current local and global events can be very useful and empowering.  Sigh.  Medium, message, message, medium, chicken, egg, voyeurism, fear, fanaticism, fake news, real news… I just don’t fucking know what I think as I sit in Changi airport feeling markedly exhausted after a very long day.


So back, to that long day.  I walked back to the hotel with Ranae and then headed directly to see my dear friend Harri and her son (who is one of Daniel’s best friends on the planet).  It was a wonderful visit.  I got to hang out with their cat, who came to Singapore all the way from Greenhithe.  I miss her being closer to me.  But thankfully there’s social media so I get to know what she is up to and she feels closer.  Which is lucky, because she’s good to the core and hates mean girl keeping up with the Jones’s bullshit as much (if not more) thank I do.


After swims and chats and much laughing I caught a cab to the airport.  Breezed through check-in.  Got to customs and the attractive Indian man scanning passports was talking to his colleague and peppering his conversation with some fairly punchy language.  I started to giggle, and he got a bit agitated.  Then I explained I like that he swore a bit, as it puts me at ease.  And then I explained that that would NEVER happen in the US, and probably not in Canada, but possibly in NZ.  He’d warmed up to our conversation enough by this point, to inquire how an American or a Canadian expresses their emotions.  I had no decent answer for him.


And now I am here.  With my slightly tipsy and extremely terrific team (they had cocktails in the sun while I had a much more family friendly afternoon) and we are at the gate lounge charging our devices and waiting to board our plane.

I didn’t mean to have such an incredibly epic time here in Singapore.  There’s social and human rights issues that make me loath to travel here, but people are beautiful the world over.  And there’s a lot of people in Singapore.  Expat and local.  Travelers and residents.


I’ll be back, but next time I come through I will bring Daniel to see Owen.


Goodnight.  I am knackered and have hours of flying to look forward to, I hope you are considerably more comfortable as you read these meanderings.









Don’t Fear Happiness

Tuesday – June 6th 2017


5:21am – An incredibly sweet little face with big brown eyes and breath that smells rather a lot like a cat litter box (we don’t have a cat… thankfully) wake me up for “tuddles” which I enthusiastically oblige, without hesitation.  Chubby little hands stroke my cheek and stubby little arms squeeze around my neck.  I lie awake listening to my baby breath and eventually fall back to sleep.


6:27 – Still can’t sleep.  I’ll check social.  (reaches for phone) Oh good, cryptic monosyllabic from some, interesting and engaging messages from others.  Reply, reply, reply, reply, bye.


7:15 – “Oh SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT!” we’ve slept in. Daniel needs to get to school and nobody’s lunches are packed.  We need to get to the gym.


8:20 – Lolo arrives and nobody has any idea what happened to our copy of George’s Marvelous Medicine but fuck-me-days it is great to see my friend (and our housekeeper) because I am free until 3:00pm.  I could not and would not have that freedom without her.  And when I get home, almost like magic, it will be tidy and fresh.


8:30 – Gym.  Music.  Really enjoying Catfish and the Bottlemen and today was also a Leonard Cohen day.  Tower of song on repeat because I fucking wanted to.


9:30 – Arrive in the office.  Dad jokes, bad puns for days.  Nick used all the hot water so I had to baste in my own gym juices for an hour while the hot water reheated.


9:45 – downstairs to see my people at solPR.  Rachelle was halfway through making by coffee, broke her nose walking into the glass door over the weekend, gentle hugs.  James arrived home after meeting with our partners in Brisbane.  Big bear hugs because James is a big bear with a voice like a foghorn.


10:30 – Meeting to discuss and design conference modules/banners/floorplan.  I am a GENIUS when it comes to details and synergies.  Can’t discuss further, NDA.


11:30 – Rush to track and field.  PANIC ATTACK!  Other parents.  Many are nice, some are lovely, but some are FUCKING RIDICULOUS!  Judgmental, unhappy, insincere and angry.  Over a decade living in this leafy suburb and I am utterly without joy and terrified of every single child’s event.  We’re weird.  I get that, it has always been that way, but I don’t know how or why it is so important for the mean girl cliques I never understood in high school to be omnipresent on the children’s watch as well.  I ran 10,000km away from mean girls, just to run into them again.  Thank God for the few friends I have.  They always safely block me from the stares and snarls of distant acquaintances who have time for such distractions as disproval.


11:32 – Kiss Stephanie-Jane goodbye and wish her luck.  It must have worked, as I will find out later she got 5th and is going to interschool, same as happened last year.  Can’t handle any more pursed lipped parents.  Run faster than the track and field kids to get the fuck back to my car where I am safe and away from there.


11:45 – Stop at the office for hugs to wash away the feeling of dread and vulnerability that happens whenever I have to face local, school, or community events.  I absorb and appreciate my hugs then bark out some suggestions between getting briefed on the mountains of stuff they are shoveling through.


12:30 – Drive to see the slender Eastern European caricature that is my Psychiatrist.


1:02 – Arrive in the newly renovated offices that smell of paint and carpet glue.


This is where the day got interesting.


More than six months since I started/changed medication.  A diagnosis I’ll talk about at length one day.  Not today though.  Rui (caricature Eastern European shrink) and I cram a shitload of conversation into our 40 minute sessions.  We talk about geopolitical states, business, sustainability, refugees, immigration, family, sex, food, travel, and sometimes we even talk about my mental state.  I often tell him I don’t agree with his observations on the world, and he often tells me that my crazy is fascinating to him.  I like being fascinating.  I also like that I am now a little less crazy.


“So how are you?” He said in an uncharacteristically concerned tone.


“I am actually, genuinely, really fucking good… Happy.  Content even maybe?”  I said.  “There’s been a lot, there’s always a lot and we’re figuring shit out, and we had a week filled with grief and big changes, but I am excited about the future. And, yes. Happy.”


A knowing smile curled across my very own eccentric psychiatric specialist.


“And you worry it will end?” He inquired with raised eyebrows.


“Yeah.” I said looking at my thinning crossed legs.  “That’s a nagging thing, and also, do I deserve to feel okay.”


“One of the strangest things about people, Dee, is that they/we seem to crave, and fear happiness.  When we are happy we are waiting for something to go wrong.  It is very strange.” He said pulling out his prescription and blood test pad and paper.


“And do you still want to die?” He said while writing something illegible on the multicolored pad he just fished out.


“Sometimes.” I said.  “But not like before.  Not constantly, not eternally, not uncontrollably.”


“Well, 30 years means you may never stop feeling it, we learn, our brains get hardwired.  You seem to be managing it better than before.”


And then we talked about my new Tesla and my marriage and my propensity to be deeply in Love with everyone always.  We talked about sustainability and Trump and Comey and Brexit and animals and dirty waterways.


And then I carry on with my day.

I arrive back at the office, where my husband, who I am more in Love with than ever asks how the eccentric shrink is, and how the appointment went.  He expresses gratitude for the improvement in my mental health since the appointments and medication began.


And life carries on.  And I am going to try really hard not to fear contentment.


Thank you for reading.






Slime and Sensibility

The children were off school today, while us big kids didn’t have to work.  Queen’s Birthday weekend is the last stat for several long weeks.


I have been unceremoniously booted off my own television, where a few short moments ago I had almost finished watching the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice for what could be the thousandth time.


The two little boys have settled in next to me, snuggled in tight like little tattoos on my chest and my options are pretty limited so I thought I may as well write a fucking Blog since this is my position for the next couple of hours at least.  They are watching some CGI cartoon thing, about robot dinosaurs and I just can’t get emotionally invested in that kind of shit.


Steve’s working on an issue for a customer somewhere in the central north island, and as per usual, overhearing him sends me swooning and reminds me just how fucking RIDICULOUSLY audacious he is, trying to completely disrupt an industry. Again.


Tomorrow we are back in the office and I am incredibly excited about that, because I miss my people and have a million calls to make before heading overseas for a short stint with my masters class and professor.  I’ve been forced back into my mom role recently, because all four were suffering with the lack of routine and security.  I am home for them and cook for the ungrateful little parasites most nights.  We also put screens to the side and play games like hangman or Pictionary or Uno.  Parenting is hard.  Working is hard.  They are both fucking fabulously rewarding though.  Feeling a bit smug about smashing the balance bit, but missing being the badass networking goddess who only has time for good cunts.


So I am pretty certain that both Steve and I are unemployable.  The idea of anyone, anywhere, trying to get us to stop or start doing anything that we weren’t compelled to do/be and insanely passionate about… Well that concept is puzzling.  There’s a bit of mundane and plenty of tough bits in what we do, but we Love what we do and we Love those who are smashing it with us.


Somehow, the entrepreneurial spirit has rubbed off on the children, especially on Stephanie-Jane.


Steph is churning through buckets of PVA glue and borax, and selling various colours, textures, and scents of slime.

She’s diversified her product range to pop sockets and squishies, and is turning over $100 a week.  Cheeky little con-kid hasn’t paid us for raw materials yet either, so she’s rolling in cash.  I will have to remind her of this fact.


So she’s got an amazing understanding of economics, and scale and she knows how to add value and upsell and cross-sell and diversify to minimize risk.  She’s aware that slime is a fad and is forever looking for the next big thing.  She’s ten. I know grown assed adults who don’t have the balls this girl has to take care of b’ness.


How the hell did a couple of raging socialists end up with a wee capitalist I wonder?  She does say she is going to give her money to charity, or start her own charity.  I support those ideas whole heartedly.


So she’s got a display chest organized to pedal her wares and show people what she is capable of.  She’s taking orders daily and a couple of dollars for rose scented slime leaves Steph’s pockets well lined and gets her friends (and Daniel’s friends, as she’s broken into the much sought after Albany Junior High territory with great success) flush with sweet smelling slime.