I’ve never wanted to go to Singapore. To me it has always been a land of fines and corporal punishment. And as a guy who has always lived on the edge, I guess it’s only understandable that I wanted to give it a miss, specifically the threat of caning. To my pleasant surprise, on my visit last week, I realised it was nothing like I had imagined it to be. But hey, with cigarette butts on the street, drunken guys on the road and hawkers you could bargain with, I felt totally at home. I also never dreamt that my first night out at the iconic Clark Quay would be the night they chose to shut power down for maintenance. Load shedding in Singapore? Woot! As a result, we were redirected to an alternate venue. Given that the whole city, including extended family, could be reading this column, and given the fact that two out of three people I’ve told this story to have already been to this place, let me sum up my night out in this Bangkok-like setting in just two words: Crazy Horse.
Bangkok-like: this allows me to jump across the bay and casually mention the unveiling of ‘Bangkok With Love’, a collection by Minnie Menon Jewelry, with a ballet performance by Amla Aina, a Karun Raman-choreographed fashion show and even a pair of cufflinks exclusively designed for the genial chef Rajesh, GM of the Park—the same venue I had stumbled across on a random Friday night, where a band actually walked in and set up at midnight. Full marks to Ryan and the Undercovers—a band you can see only in the blue light of the Leather Bar.
But I digress. Where was I? Ah, Singapore! And Smiggles. A cool, funky designer brand that has captured the imagination of children who want to buy stationery by the school bagful. Oh, and there is a Build-a-Bear, too. Another wallet-destroying franchise that makes you want to scamper back to mommy in Chennai. Strange Lion Fish and Large Island of Entertainment nonetheless, Singapore is no longer the ‘Toyoto Car’ city from the 1979 Kamal-Rajini starrer, Ninaithale Inikkum for me.
And just like that I woke up and September had ended—a dream month for entertainment junkies in Chennai—and we steel ourselves for the October twists ahead.