Singapore


I have been meaning to write about this topic for quite awhile. I find many things about watching the tube here interesting:

1. Programming
TV in our apartment is definitely slanted toward an Anglo viewer. We have History Channel, Discovery Channel, MTV and other things you would likely be familiar with. The difference is that these shows all have a distinctively Asian twist: History spends more time airing stuff on Asian historical events than European or Canadian ones. The Discovery Channel airs more shows on Travel and local flora and fauna than back home (obviously)

Also, America has imported some of its best, and some of its worst shows. CSI airs here at least twice a day for EACH spinoff show (awesome). Law & Order also airs daily (awesome-r), even Oprah is on daily, Family Guy, Seinfeld, and the Simpsons!

But there are also soooo many bad American shows that it is almost embarrassing: TNA Wresting airs ALL night EVERY Saturday, along with WWE and Smackdown – which might be the same thing…I have no idea. And ever wonder what happens to unsuccessful shows with only a season or two back home? Yep! They get picked up in Asia and shown ad nauseum. For example: Bionic Woman, Terminator: The Sarah Connors Story, Dirt, etc etc.

2. Commercials
I dont know what the laws are, but commercials here are completely different. They don’t advertise products, only other TV shows. Its strange, but much preferable, in my opinion.

Also, the skip a lot of commercials. Like every other commercial during Oprah is just skipped. They fade to black and then reappear instantly. So what do they do with the leftover time since they dont take up the full hour? you might ask. Simple…show clips from other shows! Other Oprah shows, clips from a movie, or a little interview with a Hollywood Starlet.

3. Random

They play the same shows on at the same time, every night. For example, they will play the whole season of Lost in 2 weeks. Cause a new episode is aired every day. Which is great, unless you are busy one night a week..then you’re totally confused! They do this with Amazing Race, Last Comic Standing and many other shows. So when they run out of new shows, they just take it off the air and replace it with something else! So you can never really bet on your fav show at all. So annoying!

4. Subtitles

If a show is in English, it is subtitled in Mandarin. After awhile you don’t even notice, but I have to wonder how they can possibly read all those characters so quickly!
If a show is in Japanese or any other language, it is subtitled in English. This is because most people here also speak English.

Overall, this is far too much analysis of television, and I’m kind of embarrassed for having written this at all.

But there you have it! Everything you wanted to know about TV in Singapore!

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I have come to notice simply by watching MTV Asia that Singaporeans have the most questionable taste in music. This does not include any reviews of the current Mandarin or Japanese hits, only the largest English-language hits, (I think we can all agree that I am not equipped to judge the likes of Jay Chou or Prince Michael!) I think you may be surprised at what made MTVs top 10 songs this week:

  • “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow” Randy Jackson feat. Paula Abdul
  • “No Air” Jordin Sparks feat Chris Brown
  • “All Amercian Girl” Carrie Underwood
  • “Like Whoa” Aly & AJ
  • “Outta My Head” Ashlee Simpson
  • “Hands on Me” Vanessa Carleton
  • “Feels like Tonight” Daughtry
  • “Slow me Down” Emmy Rossum (who I believe played Christine in the movie adaptation of the Phantom of the Opera)
  • “Run the Show” Kat Deluna
  • “Touch my Body” Mariah Carey

Its unfortunate that I only got around to writing this list this week…because the songs that were in the top 10 even 2 weeks ago were even worse (like that awful Colby Caillat song…you know “starts in my toes and I wrinkle my nose, and it comes and goes and I already know, and thats a good show and I like snow” song) Simple Plan and Avril Lavigne are also super popular. I am by no means a music snob…but listening to the radio in this country is like listening to nails on a chalkboard. North America is just not quite exporting their best, in my humble opinion.

Every Saturday, our building is home to a bizarre and wonderful phenomenon. Weekly, from 6:30 until 9 pm, Singaporeans from all over the city state gather here to do 1 thing: line dance.
Its true! We noticed them since our arrival, however never got sneaky enough to take any pictures. But we HAD to…because the sight is just so ridiculous that you wouldn’t believe me unless I had concrete proof.

Last night we got bold enough to take a few shots.

Notice the man in the white shirt and jeans… he seems to be the ringleader. Everyone pays a fee to him to dance every week, which likely goes to paying the DJ and equipment rental. And yes, there IS equipment. And lots of it!

Last night we also saw a couple in matching Stars and Stripes mustang shirts and matching hats, and matching white cowboy boots. Its a good look!

It seems that every day here we get mistaken for Australians (or Swede’s…see previous posts). Getting mistaken for an Aussie isn’t really a bad thing, because I associate all good things with the nation down under…former British colony, fine weather, and good looking citizens! And being mistaken for one of them is surely much more complimentary than being taken for an American! But even after you tell them you are not from Australia, it doesn’t seem to matter, so I’ve just been going with it.

Typical cab ride in Singapore:
Driver: “So…whey you fra la?” (Translation: Where are you from?)
Me: “Canada…Toronto”
Driver: “OOOH Canada…big place yah. Cold! Haha!”
Me: “Yah, pretty cold there this time of year”
Driver: “You know, our Prime Minister has been to Australia many times”
Me: “Oh really?”
Driver: “Yes, many, many times”
Me: “Nice”
Driver: “Yes, nice”
Me: Silence
Driver: “Australia has great golfing”
Me: “Nice”
Driver: “Yes, nice”
Me: Silence

And often by this point I have arrived at my destination and can extricate myself from the rapidly deteriorating conversation. It simply puzzles me every time it happens. I can’t figure out if it is the nearest frame of reference for Caucasian habitation, or if they are unsure about Canada. Maybe it sounds like Canberra???? That thought just occurred to me…OMG. I might have just figured this mystery out!!!

So today we stopped by our local grocery store to pick up a few things, and we stumbled on a giveway!!!! Not money, or coupons, but a pair of Norwegian Salmon oven mitts!!! Yessssss!

When the checkout clerk saw how delighted we were with our new oven mitts, she promptly gave us another FREE item! An insulated meat bag! Complete with instructions on how to properly store frozen meat!

Could this day GET any better???

So we finally got around to checking out Sentosa Island. Sentosa has beaches, museums, rides and an aquarium. Everyone here told us it is a must-see experience, so we had to go. It seemed as though every time we made plans to finally get there it would rain. So last weekend we finally we got a sunny Sunday to check it out. There are a few ways to get there, and of course, we chose the most interesting one…a gondola. It is insanely, insanely high up. I was quite scared. Though we did get a great view of the fat European men sunbathing in their thongs. Good times.
We purchased a package that included a 3D movie, aquarium pass, dolphin show and the gondola tickets. First stop was the aquarium, which was pretty cool actually. They have 2 tanks where you can touch the fish, starfish and rays, which were a lot harder and slimier than I had imagined. Then you get on a conveyor belt which takes you into a tube where you are surrounded by sharks, rays, and fish of all kinds. It was pretty interesting. But as soon as we exited the aquarium, instead of being greeted by the hot Singapore sun, this was what the sky looked like:
Pretty ominous eh?

Seemed like a good time to seek some

shelter and enjoy a favourite Singapore
treat: Cup O’ Corn!
Next stop: Dolphin Show. It was neat that they were pink dolphins, but it was altogether kinda lame. Might have had something to do with the fact that we watched it in the pouring rain…

Next Stop: 3D log ride movie. The line ended up being really long, and so to pass the time we got some beers! Obviously! Should have had more than one, because that ride was crap.

Final Stop: Home Jeeves! Altogether Sentosa was a big expensive disappointment. I guess maybe we should have just went to the beach and the WWII bunker. Ah well…another Singapore landmark is crossed off of our list!

Though you can probably already tell, Singaporeans seem to have a real interest in Canadian political personalities. What you might not yet know, is that they also love Canadian sense of humor!!! One of the most popular shows here is Just for Laughs. Mostly the hidden camera skits, but I have also seen a few episodes of 90’s standup.

Ever wondered what Singapore Airlines does when they want to entertain their guests but not give out headphones? Play Just for Laughs Gags without audio! Cause really…a person getting their tie caught in an ATM is hilarious even without sound! What makes it even better is that you can hear the other passengers laughing hysterically. I love it.

And catching glimpses of old Canadian standbys in the background like Zellers and The Bay really makes me feel a little nostalgic…

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