Sunday, October 24, 2010

Singapore pt 2 conclusion.

Part one is here

So I return to the ‘Holiday Chalets’ to rest up, I’m pretty scary to look at.

I take the next day off, my vision condition is mending.

Day three and I thought I’d be all gung ho and depart from my circus based, street based stilt show and delve into the world of the human statue. After all, how hard can it be? Contractual obligations would be met.

I did it for an hour, I will never do it again. Some little kid undid my fly. I wanted to kill him. But...I was a statue.

It was on day three also a curious misfortune beset us, The currencies of Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia took a spectacular dive. Sending Dom to his contract for us where he noticed for the first time our payment was in Singapore dollars and not the Australian he’s presumed. Only about a 70% decrease in the value of our wages, never mind.

The next day I was gratefully on stilts again, my groin high above prying fingers.

Our job, and it was obvious no-one had ever thought it through, was to entertain crowds who arrived by the busload predominantly to watch the musical fountain. An only minimally majestic piece of colorfully lit plumbing that wooshed about to classical music inside a custom built ampitheater.

The kind of thing, going off as it did on the hour, that could construe, to people living nearby with holes in their heads, cruel and unusual punishment.

What became immediately evident was that our presence on Sentosa was merely a sop to having our promo on the posters. Appearance being part of the collective hallucination that is Singapore in which appearances are created like a bow of a ship to forge through the deep waters of the society leaving reality to be formed , less importantly behind the bow, which is always shiny and overpromicing. [In my limited experience].

The glitch in the system was the finely tuned ballet involving Tourguides holding different colored flags leading efficient Asian tourists past all and any distractive temptation towards the grail that was the musical fountain.
These tour guides would simply not brook any dilly dallying.
We, who were trained and efficient at creating stages and audiences in public , were reduced to watching as meta human caterpillars wove purposefully past.
The tourguides were scary, they were like screaming sergeants let loose on elderly folk.

The next problem that eclipsed the guides, the utter lack of any engaging point was to come in the second week. We were employed to work between four and seven, pm, six evenings a week.
By week two the ‘rainy season’ kicks in. One very distinctive feature of the rainy season is the monotonous precision of the daily deluge. It starts every day five minutes either side of four pm and finishes within the same varience around seven pm.
By week two it was set to rain for those 2 hours for the rest of the contract. Just a little miffing.

On the short walk home, every day after dutifully getting ready by four and cancelling by five past, I’d pass the cages containing the monkeys who split coconuts in their spare time. I had an excuse to feel self pitiful, I had a big hole in my head and was trapped in some Kafka like hell. I can remember feeling jealous that the monkeys had a more meaningful existence than I.

Our accom was surrounded by similar converted Japanese WW2 barracks and in these were housed a regularily replaced collection of Young Singaporian Born Again Youth.
They played guitar as badly as only a certain type of christian has the gall to do and sung folk hymns til four in the morning.

At seven in the morning, given it was fall and leaves tend to fall, a squadron of leafblowing imported laborers would meander through the neighbourhood. By nine, the first of the Christians would be up and at the guitar again.

The weeks dragged on, the hole in my head got better. I abandoned the job after our first scheduled payment was delayed. I flew back to Perth a couple of days before the six weeks ended guessing they wouldn’t even notice. They didn’t.

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