The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Coming Back To My Second, Second Home …
September 19, 2012, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

So as some of you know, I’m in Singapore.

While many criticise it for a bunch of reasons – from its insular outlook to it’s over paternal approach to life – it has a special place in my heart.

Maybe it’s because I spent 4 years living here.

Maybe it’s because I still have many friends here.

Maybe it’s because I got married here.

Maybe it’s because I am still a permanent resident here.

Maybe it’s all those things and some more, who knows …

But despite being a country that contrives to make sure you experience more than a few frustrations living there, whenever I come back, it feels weirdly like home.

It took me a long time to try and figure out why … afterall, I’ve lived in a lot of places where I still have a lot of friends and, much to the annoyance of everyone except the taxation department, I am still ‘classed’ as a permanent resident … and then I worked it out, it’s because Singapore is so bloody small.

You see moving around a lot has it’s disadvantages.

Don’t get me wrong, it has an amazing amount of wonderful benefits and I have never regretted doing it for a second and would passionately advise anyone to do the same – but still, constantly moving countries means you sacrifice the ability to build deeper friendships and deeper roots.

Yes … yes … I know in this ‘digital age’ that is not supposed to be the case, but I think there is a massive difference between a friendship built on continuous interactions within certain physical environments and one where it is mainly through your digital exchanges.

But I digress.

The thing with Singapore – versus every other country I’ve lived in – is that it’s basically just a city. Sure, it would be classed as a relatively big city, but it’s still just a city.

And as with most cities, there is a central business district – even though in Singapore, this also doubles as the central shopping district – which means that whenever I visit and walk around the place [getting my fill of gadgets from Funan Mall or Sim Lim] I inevitably bump into someone I know.

And I like it.

A lot.

Sure, they might feel quite differently, but for me, casually bumping into someone I know feels nice.

It makes me feel like I belong to something … something bigger than just my family or work colleagues.

Please don’t think I’m saying I’m not happy with my family, of course I am.

The fact of the matter is “home” is ultimately wherever my wife [and cat] are.

All I am saying is that even though it’s entirely my own fault I move countries so much, the result is that I permanently feel I’m always one degree off being part of a genuine, fully-functional community which is why whenever I am in Singapore – due to its small physical dimensions – I get to experience what I’ve not had since I left Nottingham almost 20 years ago and it feels nice … very, very nice.

Whether that means we would ever move back here is another thing altogether, but despite that – and the fact it can also make me feel like a stranger in my own town, so to speak – it’s wonderful to be back and wonderful to see people who had/have an amazing impact on how I view, think and experience life … which, contrary to what many believe, is not the sort of thing you can do nearly as well hidden behind a computer screen.

46 Comments so far
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Rob… Don’t they chop your arms off for chewing gum? And, in that picture… The white object with sperm coming out of it… Is it a giant dildo. I mean what the fuck?
Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.

Comment by adscamgeorge

Singapore bans chewing gum but lets Rob become a permenant resident. Go figure.

Comment by Billy Whizz

your application to be the editor of the daily fucking mail is now complete george.

Comment by andy@cynic

The chewing gum thing isn’t true anymore.

You are allowed to have it … you can even buy it … though, like speaking at Singapore’s ‘Speakers Corner’, you have to get some sort of official approval prior to going in and getting it.

So yet, it’s a bit weird.

As for your comment on the ‘dildo’ … also known as the Merlion [] … I suppose the kindest thing to say is that if you are bored, you’ve just about guaranteed yourself a position with Mitt Romney’s foreign policy team. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Haven’t you written this before? I swear something like this bored me
to tears previously.

Comment by DH

And I’m sure you’ve said the same thing about other countries you’ve visited that you once lived in. Tart.

Comment by DH

I knew I was right.

You’re copying yourself Rob, though at least in this post you have worked out why you miss Singapore beyond just being the most sentimental man alive.

Comment by DH

Oh yes. Bugger.

And to think I spent time writing this when all I had to do was CMD + C, then CMD + V.

Comment by Rob

I wonder if this is the first time singapore and nottingham have been compared. That’s like comparing nickleodeon with hustler and that’s being kind to nottingham.

Comment by Billy Whizz

That’s a very interesting look into the world of what drives you. I can’t imagine this will ever be one of Andy’s favourite posts, but I thought it was good.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

youre wrong mortimer, i fucking love this post but thats because it means hes fucking mies away from me.

Comment by andy@cynic

Fair point

Comment by Rob Mortimer

this would be a half decent post if you didnt get sentimental about everyfuckingthing from clock fucking radios to the toilet paper you wipe your great big hairy arse on.

Comment by andy@cynic

I wish the brain didn’t paint pictures in your mind.

Comment by DH

and another reason you like singapore is because mr fucking property barons watches his house/rent prices increase at double fucking digit growth. probably.


Comment by andy@cynic

and i know plenty of chat roulette perverts that would argue the fuck with your last sentence. but for normal fucks, its quite a good point. who did you steal it off?

Comment by andy@cynic

The immigration departments of Luxembourg, Switzerland and every other country that could let Rob feel part of a community because of their small landmass/population have all been put on high alert.

Comment by DH

Very nice Robert, especially your final point.

Comment by Lee Hill

Been in Singapore for a year. It’s small, but not as small as Hong Kong, by the definition you use. And, in terms of bumping into people I know on the street, neither compares to London.

Comment by fernando

Hi Fernando … good to hear from you.

It’s interesting to hear you say that given Singapore’s physical dimensions are smaller than HK, as is their population – by almost 2 million – though maybe you feel that way because the HK life is very concentrated to a few locations plus I only lived there for about 18 months and was almost never social, ha.

Shame I missed you, hopefully that can change on my next visit here.

Comment by Rob

Hey Rob, thanks. Maybe next time you are not locked in a minimum security facility – I mean, air-conditioned industry conference.

Yes, I think HK has an edge because of the physical proximity. I didn’t socialise much in HK either, but Central is like City/CBD, Orchard & Dempsey Hill all rolled into one small borough.

Comment by fernando

Rob… Why don’t you move back to Singapore and become Neil French 2.0. Where the fuck is he these days? When he started his short lived “Awards” a couple of years ago, I suggested he should call them the “Golden Dildo’s” I always associate Singapore with dildo’s. Is it just me? Have they started making that beer yet… The one Neil made up so he could win some “Golden Dildo’s?” What a guy… I loved the way he went to Cannes every year, but never ACTUALLY went to Cannes. He stayed in a very posh hotel (courtesy of WPP) up the mountain at St Paul de Vence… And made everyone trek up there to see him. He would dispense words of wisdom while smoking giant Cohiba’s and chugging Bollinger… What a fucking guy! There’s lot more stuff like this on “AdScam” Much more interesting than all this Eastern shit Rob keeps fucking going on and on.

Comment by adscamgeorge

I haven’t seen Neil in a while. I think he still pops in every now and then but mainly lives in Spain. I have to say I do like him. Yes he has sort-of become a characature of himself, but under the grand, broad (mid-quoted?) statements and royaltyesque lifestyle, he’s a very smart man – but maybe I would say that because he liked me because we bonded over an episode of Auf Weidersen Pet we both liked.

As for your blog being more interesting than this rubbish – you’re preaching to the converted, didn’t you already realise that?

Comment by Rob

Rob… I fucking LOVE your blog… It’s just that if I say that, I will spoil my gnarly old image… So we’ll keep it a secret just between us.
Yeah, Neil is great. Loved it when he got yanked off stage in Toronto for his “Sexist” remark!!! Give the guy a break, he was pissed at the time.
A great writer… But don’t buy his book. The first 500 pages (Like me, he’s a long copy kinda guy) are about his adventures as a fucking car salesman in Solihull.
I’ve just had the greatest idea in the ad universe whilst getting shit-faced.
I’ll post it on AdScam tomorrow if I remember to write it down on my “iNapkin.”

Comment by adscamgeorge

can you hear the flushing of your cred going down the shitter for saying you love this shit. quick, say youre pissed, its your only hope.

Comment by andy@cynic

@Andy… I’m ALWAYS pissed. Anyway this is a fucking secret.

Comment by adscamgeorge

good job no fucker pays any attention to this shit then isnt it. we must get pissed together some time. without campbell and his diet coke. twat.

Comment by andy@cynic

Singapore’s not a country, it’s a theme park.

It’s what you’d get if Disneyland was run by the Nazi Party.

Comment by Ian Gee

Hey Rob,

Jeremy here, interesting article there. Being born and bred in Singapore, I guess I can relate. I would like to reach out and have a cup of coffee if you’re keen, more details in the message that I’ve sent on Linkedin.

Hope to hear from you soon.


Comment by jemkoh

Rob… I just did an “Homage” to you on AdScam… ‘Cos, as you know, I am a fucking prince!

Comment by adscamgeorge

And it’s not even Christmas.

Comment by Rob

I’m already an Adscam regular, but this I gotta see…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

it better be slagging him off and not some blogger gay love shit.

Comment by andy@cynic

i knew it. its gay love in a way only campbells hero mercury would understand.

way to go keeping your love of this shithole quiet george. why not buy some billboards while youre at it.

Comment by andy@cynic

Rob – I only just discovered your blog via George’s. I am a fellow Nottingham lad who has lived in London, Hong Kong (my wife is from there), New York, San Francisco, New York (again) and finally got out of the big agency world and moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where I have built a recording studio and now focus on my music and other writing. I was back in Nottingham very recently as we are on a 5 week trip to Europe
(in Spain right now – Cordoba) – it was pretty depressing compared to the city I grew up in from 1952 to 1979 when, like you I started bouncing around the world. But then Italy sucked compared to when I was last there about five years ago. Is anywhere actually getting better?? Anyway, long way round to say you have a new reader. If you want to return the favor check out my blog (and other stuff) at ps What school did you go to in Nottingham?

Comment by Dave Tutin

He went to the school for the terminally deaf and taste blind. That’s the only explanation for any of this.

Comment by John

nice doddsy, very fucking nice.

Comment by andy@cynic

are you campbells twin brother? your life sounds very much like his.

getting the fuck out of nottingham.
travel around on free fucking holidays.
marry someone from another country.
marry someone out of your fucking league.
do shit with music. (though for your fucking sake i hope it doesnt involve rick bastard astley and owning a windmill studio thing in the middle of fucking nowhere in tulip growing holland)

for your fucking sake i hope not or youre going to start wearing birkenstocks and boring people with planner blog shit.

Comment by andy@cynic

I do have to say the similarities are uncanny.

Comment by Pete

Hello Dave … great to ‘meet’ you.

I have to say, the comments from the other guys about how close our lives seem to be mirroring each other is scary – but I would assume that news would be far more worrying for you than it is for me, ha!

I went to Heymann Primary school and West Bridgford comprehensive … I doubt you heard of them, they’re not exactly schools for the elite. Ahem.

Happy holidays.

Comment by Rob

I know West Bridgford well – I lived just up the road in Clifton and went to Fairham Comprehensive. But how we were expected to be prepared for life in a school with 1600 boys and not a girl in sight has always escaped me. Occasionally a lone female would walk by during break time and it was quite something to see 1600 leacherous young men all hanging on the same wire fence, drooling. She’d never walk that way again that was for sure. Or maybe she went home and practiced her dildo skills! For the other guys – you’ll be glad to know there are no Tulips, windmills or Rick Bastard Astley’s involved in my music. Just a little plot of land in the desert which I share with rabbits, coyotes and the occasional bobcat.

Comment by Dave Tutin

Fuck… I should start a dating service. Free dildos to subscribers. Anyone in?

Comment by adscamgeorge

I don’t think the industry is lacking those George.

Comment by John

good point doddsy, they just call them planners.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m guessing you’ll like this:

Comment by Tim Burley (@timburley)

[…] hardly anyone I knew there is still now and yes, there was still that feeling of being a stranger in my home town – even though it’s not my home town and I only lived there for 4 years – but I […]

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