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The chronicles of two Portlanders in Singapore

Thursday morning and I had planned a fascinating day of laundry and lunch – such are my days at times, playing house husband to the very best of my abilities. Somewhere between the load of whites coming out of the dryer and sweeping the drifts of doggy hair I heard a pop come from the bedroom we use as an office, and then… nothing.  No James Brown counting out the one two three fours, no hum of the fan that we use to keep the room (relatively) cool, just the eerie silence of a room suddenly devoid of the electric hum.  Strangely, there was no panic, no sprinting, just a curious eye and nose as I could smell the burnt plastic.  I did, of course, immediately remove my laptop and ensured that it at least still worked, and thankfully it did.

One stress point immediately removed, I at least saw that the breaker had tripped in response to whatever had popped.  Flipping it back on, I went about turning stuff on one by one until I found out what had gone kablowey.  One by one, our various computer and phone parts came online, until I decided to plug my laptop in… and no charge was coming.

As I unplugged the brick-like charger from the surge protector, the smell of burnt plastic and silicon intensified.  I could clearly see the soot marks on the charger and the universal adapter it was plugged into.  It has occurred to me that what shorted might have been the connection between the American-style two-prong adapter and the universal converter that it was plugged into.  That connection was never the most stable and there was plenty of soot and burnt pieces within the small square do-hickey.

Well, what did I say about plans here?  They don’t survive contact with dim sum menus, and they don’t survive electrical explosions.  I needed to buy a charger.

It’s an interesting thing – for reasons I’ve yet to Google, Apple does not have any stores in Singapore.  They work through retailers here and it is highly recommended to ensure that you are buying Apple products from an official retailer.  Fakes and replicas abound in Asia, and if there’s one fake product that I am never going to buy, it’s a fake Apple product1go ahead, Google “fake apple charger explodes” and read in horror.  I’ll wait.  Done?  Awesome.  You’re lovely, reader..  I had the weekly SOMA lunch in Orchard, so confident among the many retail shops there that I would find my needed part, I took off towards our famous shopping road a bit early.

Fortunately, I did go early, for I found myself on a wild goose chase from store to store, mall to mall for an 85W charger with the new MagSafe2 connector2Thanks, Obama..  While I didn’t get my hands on one before lunch, I found an iStudio who had some in stock in Sommerset (one MRT stop down) and had them hold one for me.

Two hours later, I was back home, new charger in hand and very gingerly plugging it in.  I use my laptop often as a desktop, which requires it to be plugged into a charger, but now, I think I’ll switch off the port that the charger is plugged into to keep it cool.

The laundry of course suffered.


Last night, Bev & I met up with fellow American expat from Chicago by way of New York, whose accent and emphasis on actionable words immediately identified him as a mixture of those two wonderful American accents.  Jeff runs an recruitment firm that works with finance pros, so of course he wanted the chance to talk to Bev about her needs here in Singapore.  However, Jeff’s company was very enjoyable and he recommended a place that has American Oregon beer on tap, including Rogue’s iconic Dead Guy Ale, which I savored as if it were ambrosia.  I won’t comment on what it felt like to pay $15 for that pint, but such is life in Singapore, and I’ll feel balanced enough when I go to lunch and pay $3 for some amazing home-cooked rice & curry.

Such is life in Singapore.

During the discussion last night, we talked about my career and if I was thinking of reentering the IT world.  I was quick to say no, but the thought is there – what am I going to do when I get back to Portland and if this writing thing doesn’t work out?  Surely, I’ll need to keep the option open, yes?

Food for thought, for sure.


I’m writing this from a table at Baker & Cook, a local bakery & brunch place that’s popular with expats.  It’s a bit on the pricey side, but their coffee is amazing and their breakfast legit.  Their bread is featured in many of their breakfast items – my eggs benedict came served on toasted slices of their sourdough3not nearly as good as San Francisco’s true believers! and copious amounts of bacon.  Yum.

Seated across from me on this large picnic table is a group of expat wives that, I’m sorry to say, are not looking or saying much to dispel the stereotypes of the prototypical expat wife here.  I’ve been told by many that there is a Facebook group here of expat wives – one of my new friends Haley is part of that group – and that the group is, to put it lightly, dramatic.  I’m tempted to ask Bev to join the group (even though she technically doesn’t qualify) so that I can get on her computer and read the drama for myself.  I’ve never been one for soap operas, but real life is so much stranger than fiction, isn’t it?

For now, coffee house gossip and amazing accents will have to do.


This weekend, Bev & I are planning on going to the National History Museum, where they’re showing an exhibit on the inestimable Lee Kwan Yew.  Mr. Lee is such a titan for this country, we’re actually salivating for knowledge of Singapore’s founder.  There’s been in my mind, a frequent comparison between LKY and our founders, especially in their level of foresight and vision.  Though I can not imagine more polar opposites politically, I think that the comparison to Jefferson is quite apt.  Though, from what I’ve learned of the man from David McCullough’s book, perhaps John Adams would be a more equal comparison.  Though neither were quite as much of a polymath as Jefferson, both I think understood the details of government so exquisitely that they were able to craft new systems from virtually nothing.

We’ll know more after this weekend, and I assure you, my loyal and lovable readers, so shall you!

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