And So, The Final Flirt Begins

With less than a month left in Singapore, the city-state is finally showing us her best face.

On Saturday night and again on Sunday night, we got a glimpse of what our Singapore expat lives could have been. Two parties, two amazing sets of people. Including a potential bestie.

Saturday night was a 50th, at a beach front bar with a birthday boy who spent most of the night behind the microphone, belting out golden oldies. There were at least four pregnant women at the party and a mix of locals and foreigners, young kids and *ahem* good old boys. As the drinks flowed, the music pumped and the sea breeze riffled the party decorations, new friends were made. And in front of us, the twinkling lights of the ships awaiting a berth at the Singapore port, a floating city of fairy lights.

But it was Sunday’s social event that made me see how Singapore could have been a real home for us.

It was part street party, part backyard barbecue, part pot luck dinner. A concept cooked up by a group of neighbours who live two streets over from us, a British-Canadian couple we met by chance, walking past one of our local eateries.

A long table was set up in a narrow alley behind a group of shophouses. People came bearing platters and clinking bottles and big smiles. The guests were friendly, engaging, interested. Conversations ebbed and flowed in a range of accents.

Food appeared — home cooked sour dough bread with home-made cheesy dip, slow cooked prawns, Vietnamese barbecued pork and noodle salad, spicy pork patties, home-made gelato, sausage rolls, sheets of bak kwa (barbecued pork), baked potato, lamb sausages, barbecued fish, garden salad, cous cous, chocolate cake.

In between twinkling tea-light lanterns, an i-Pod played a selection of groovy music.

A baby was handed around. Miss M was cooed over. A dog lurked below the table, sticking his friendly furry snout between people’s legs from time to time, creating great comic moments.

Someone demanded a country count. Of the 18 guests, 14 countries were represented, including Singapore, the U.S., England, Ireland, Austria, Vietnam, Australia, South Korea, Canada.

People ducked in and out of their houses ferrying more food, more wine, more beer, a Sherrin football and a hackysack.

Miss M marched into people’s houses and emerged with a hammer, a giant frisbee, a flower-shaped whirlygig and pebbles. She climbed into an unoccupied bed, climbed up some stairs, squeezed behind a fence. We caught her before she started moving power tools around.

A couple of the lads ajourned to the street to kick the football around. The dog, the baby and Darling Man went out to “help”. I don’t know if the dog or the baby were more obsessed with chasing the ball. And the lovely lads were very careful to keep the ball away from the baby and keep the baby and the dog away from any cars that turned down the street.

It was a hard party to leave. Many times, during a break in the conversation, I’d wonder if we should stay, if we’d finally found the “real” Singapore.

I am pretty sure I found a friend that night too, a vision in floating white cotton and sparkly silver shoes. Even more of a vision when she emerged from her boyfriend’s house with two glasses of red wine and a platter of cheese and crackers for us.

8 years ago

By: Barbara

A career girl who dropped out, traveled, found love, and never got around to going home again. Now wrangling a cross-cultural relationship and two third culture kids.


  1. robin says:

    Typical, isn’t it?

    I’ve had this too – as soon as you feel done with a place it can take on a life of its own. You see things you didn’t see before and the possibilities expand.
    robin recently posted..Hombre

  2. oh man – sounds like heaven.
    wandering educators recently posted..Dream Flags Cause Flutter in Khumjung

  3. Maria says:

    Sounds like you’ll just have to stick around a little longer or go back asap – to get that full-on Xpat experience more often. 🙂
    Maria recently posted..Bird’s-eye View

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