HSBC Sev­ens Se­ries Sin­ga­pore

“Nowhere is quite like Malaysia for its mul­ti­cul­tural in­fra­struc­ture and nowhere else have I had the priv­i­lege to call lo­cals my dear­est friends”

Expatriate Lifestyle - - What’s On - www.sin­ga­

Rugby Sev­ens is fast be­com­ing one of the most pop­u­lar com­pet­i­tive sports in the world, es­pe­cially since the in­clu­sion of the sport at the last Olympics in Rio. The most fa­mous Rugby Sev­ens event is the Cathay Pa­cific/hsbc Hong Kong Sev­ens, where the in­fa­mous South Stand is al­most as big an at­trac­tion as the rugby!

This year, head to the HSBC Sev­ens Se­ries in Sin­ga­pore, where 16 in­ter­na­tional teams will play 45 ex­plo­sive matches over two days. This prom­ises to be a spec­tac­u­lar week­end of world­class rugby and en­ter­tain­ment for the whole fam­ily. Get your tick­ets now!

15-16 April

Sin­ga­pore Sports Hub Na­tional Sta­dium, 1 Sta­dium Drive, Sin­ga­pore Tel: +65 6476 7377

There were so many things I did not like about Malaysia when I first ar­rived. The driv­ing, for one. It ter­ri­fied me. It took me three months to work up the courage to get be­hind a wheel, and so to start with I took taxis. Only they ter­ri­fied me too. I’d heard the hor­ror sto­ries of the ex­pat ab­ducted from out­side the su­per­mar­ket with all her shop­ping, the er­ratic drivers, and the rip-off fares. Un­til I dis­cov­ered Grab and Uber I’d text my hus­band the regis­tra­tion num­ber of every cab I took, just to be on the safe side.

And the mug­gings, the bag snatch­ing, the bur­glary. Hon­estly, I was a quiv­er­ing wreck. It seemed that the month I ar­rived here every post on Face­book was about yet an­other KL hor­ror story. And let’s not men­tion the dengue or the frus­tra­tion of not be­ing able to get dish­washer salt any­where.

Look­ing back, three and a half short years on, I recog­nise that my an­tipa­thy was sim­ply part of cul­ture shock. I’ve seen the graph. I know that the short hon­ey­moon pe­riod is soon laid waste to and in its place comes ha­tred and de­spair. I know too that over time all this neg­a­tiv­ity be­comes ac­cep­tance and later, as­sim­i­la­tion and fond­ness. For me, this fond­ness has be­come close to ad­dic­tion. I can no longer go two weeks with­out a nasi lemak, crave a teh tarik with my roti canai and my muesli would not taste right with­out its top­ping of fresh mango.

I now know to hold my hand­bag close to me on the non-road side of the pave­ment. I have come to love the driv­ing here too, liken­ing it to a slow dance or reel as dancers gen­tly weave round each other, rarely rais­ing a fist.

I ex­pect you will have guessed by now that all this eu­logy is a sign that I am leav­ing. Yes, part­ing is such sweet sor­row. Our time here has been cut short by the spec­tre of the oil in­dus­try and we are away to colder, greyer, more ex­pen­sive climes. Closer to dear friends and fam­ily, in­de­pen­dent cin­ema and warm beer but light years away from the things I have come to love, maybe even need. Things that have now be­come my nor­mal.

Oh, the joy of Airasia, Fire­fly and Malindo and those short hops to ex­otic beaches. Oh Taj Vi­vanta on Re­bak Is­land, how I will miss your balmy shores, the clang of sheet against mast in the ma­rina, the call of horn­bills in the Bis­mark palms. We have stayed there more times than I can count and it has be­come our go-to place for R and R, and it has a view way bet­ter than any­where on Langkawi it­self. Oh Pe­nang, Pe­nang, Pe­nang. Your char kway teow lures me to the end of Le­buh Cin­tra every trip. Pe­nang has every­thing, from soul­wrench­ing his­tory and ar­chi­tec­ture to cool hills and long un­spoilt beaches.

I may have lived abroad for al­most three decades and so for me it is nor­mal to live in an in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, but nowhere is quite like Malaysia for its mul­ti­cul­tural in­fra­struc­ture and nowhere else have I had the priv­i­lege to call lo­cals my dear­est friends.

Sure, I won’t miss the haze and I won’t miss hu­mid­ity so in­tense it makes my glasses con­stantly grimy from my hav­ing to keep push­ing them back up the slippery slope of my nose. But how I will miss the sky and the storms, the trees and the bird­song.

By the time you read this Ian and I will be back in The Hague, the de­light­ful city from which we came here in 2013. It’s our first time go­ing back to the site of a pre­vi­ous post­ing and I fully ex­pect our ar­rival will be as fraught with am­biva­lence as our de­par­ture from Malaysia is, made worse (or is it bet­ter?) by the fact that we are leav­ing our son be­hind to work in Pe­nang. Bet­ter maybe be­cause it en­sures we will def­i­nitely be back! EL

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.