Sunday, March 2, 2008

Relaxing Singapore

Life is full of surprises and it is not easy to budget life's expectations and what the world throw at you.One thing for sure, stress is a sure killer, along side with broken heart syndrome.

I am speaking as an 'Oriental' or someone from the South East Asia. Originated from Singapore, we are a very busy bunch and even now, stress levels are getting to an all level high as children as young as 3 have been 'ordered' to be sent to schools to be educated and peer pressure even caused some children to mimic what they see on TV, Violence and Death. It is not just working 9 to 5 but it's more or less 0600 to 1900 hours ritual daily, rushing to get ready, for breakfast and to work and to complete work.

Back in my days, things are very much relaxed and slow paced, unlike now that you even rush to grab a seat on the train or even on the buses that common courtesy lacks nowadays adding to the stress level.

So how do we cope with things? Mainly, in Singapore, space is at a premium and time is of essence. We have all sorts of ways to cheer ourselves out and even the Government is helping out by utilising as much space as possible like creating parks and open air spaces, playgrounds and fitness corners and many more. Even the void decks under the flats are put to good use like having some game corners, a place where people can meet and have celebrations like weddings or even funeral wakes.

Singapore is known for their clean country and rigid rules. Placing fitness and wellness is the core essence to any Singaporean. Men have to serve National Service for 2 years in either the Military or the Civil Forces like the Police, Marine, Civil Defense, Fire Brigade and Civil Services.

If it is not enough, the men have to ensure they are in fit condition as a reservist and attend Individual Personal Physical-Fitness Training Test or IPPT Test annually and report for active duty for 3 weeks every year for 13 years or till they are 65. To the normal person who don't find it amusing enough, it is actually more or less a time for the guys to get away from the wifes and the normal chores ,with full pay that is, and get around with old friends, for 3 weeks, putting their lives with each other, living the good old days, and well, have fun.

Singaporean Forces are nown to call this weeks of R&R or Rest and Recreation because, normally it would be more or less guys' night out and ...deployment overseas with no kids in tow. Meeting old friends, talking 'cock' , singing songs and playing mahjong is all part of the agenda. Forget Ranks and Designation or even your job titles. In the Army, you may be the Driver but your Superior is actually ...well,your storeman? And in real life, you are his boss. Well, Army rations now consist of McDonalds, Domino Pizza and KFC for the quick reservist, known to swindle their way out of everything. Heck, even in jungle training in middle of Borneo , instead of carrying heavy AM Radio sets, they would normally carry some sort of satellite phone and a tiny 150 mile range walkie talkie. That is what you get from Conscripted Forces.

Another thing Singaporeans do love to do to relax themselves ...is actually to EAT. Really eat. Food outlets in Singapore run 24/7. Even McDonalds are 24-7 round the clock, DELIVERED FREE! Being a cosmopolitan city where things don't sleep, and a financial hub, Singaporeans turn to the core of the Human Race for some comfort. Being dominated by Chinese, they have one thing they love to practice : Dinner as a family. Sharing and caring is what Singaporeans do, even the Malay and Indian Communities. They find comfort by eating,and relaxing their minds.

Of which,the kids are another issue. Being so high tech with 108Mbps Broadband, what better way to destress and relax other than by chatting, Blogging and playing Role Playing Games across the whole country..trying to win some points and alliances. Singapore being transparent nowadays is known to have a 40% Blogging Culture where almost everyone blog, or at least read a blog. Even the Prime Minister blogs and talks about everything under the sun.

On weekends, the beaches are surely to be packed with swimmers and their families. And those who have wheels normally head up to the neighbouring country Malaysia for their food, groceries and well, some sightseeing. Domestic / Intra-Country Tourism is booming in Malaysia and Singapore because the need to relax and have fun. It's either that or the TV is another reason to relax, with over 1000 Channels on cable.

Movies too are a very popular option for some, by watching the latest movies or renting their favorites or downloading on demand (legally or pirated), plus some food to go along with it. And in the mornings, well, before going to work, some relaxed themselves by exercising at the parks, jogging or what ever, as it's very safe. And as they come back home, some wash down, relax, and head to the park to keep fit, or walk on pebbled pathways to sooth their aches (reference to acupuncture or foot reflexology) and deny the doctors of their money.

So, that's me..and it's 2100hours now..and I'm heading for dinner. Anyone care to join me?

How do you relax?

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