Wednesday, April 14, 2010

American things I have forgotten

In Singapore, there are no gas lines that connect to each house or apartment.

*UPDATE* Apparently, our military housing is one of the few places that has this problem. Not the entire island of Singapore. Other places do have gas lines.

Therefore, if you have a gas stove (which I think is what most people have here) and no gas line, you have to get a can of gas from the gas company.

It's very similar to what Americans get for their outdoor gas grills. The tanks come up to the top of my knee and are crazy heavy.

Ours sit in our laundry room behind our kitchen and the gas line runs to our stove through the wall. I rarely even think about those tanks back there.

Until they run out.

Which they did. The night before Good Friday. When businesses in Singapore close down.


That's when I panic a little. I can handle a day or so without an oven or stove, but three and a half days makes me get a little irritable.

There are only so many things you can buy for the microwave in Singapore. The locals aren't quite as in love with microwave dinners as we Americans are. In fact, many of them think it's weird that we enjoy frozen, canned and boxed food so much.

They're all about "fresh".

We're all about "fast".

I'm all about being able to not sweat my butt off in that hot kitchen. "Fast" is my favorite. But even "fast" sometimes needs a flame from a stove.

Luckily, we didn't have to go too long without our major culinary appliance. I was able to procure a partially full replacement until the company was able to deliver a new tank on Monday. The whole ordeal got me thinking though.

Megan: "Why is it that we never had this problem back home?"

Aaron: "Uh, because we have natural gas lines underground at home. We don't use tanks, silly."

Megan: "Oh my gosh, I'm dumb. I completely forgot about that."

There are so many things that I've had to rewire in my brain to get accustomed to my Singaporean life. Everytime I find myself remembering little conveniences of home, I get really excited and giddy. And I also feel a little nuts because honestly, it's only been two years. How do I forget so much?

Here's another thing that always shocks me: power lines. Has anyone else noticed that they don't exist in Singapore? That's because they're buried underground.

Whenever we've gone to another country that has overhanging power lines, I get really nervous and fascinated like I've never seen them before. I just can't quit looking at them. It's been so long since I've lived around them that their very presence grabs my attention.

My family is gonna think Singapore made me crazy.


Ken said...

The fairly newer HDBs and Condominiums do have gas lines to their home from the utility companies.

Yeah, i miss powerlines!

So will you be changing your blog to "An American girl in Kansas" eventually? :)

Meshz said...

Use the oven or toaster? Baked or grilled stuff is good too =)

My family doesn't really depend on the microwave unless we want to heat up leftovers..

Megan said...

Ken, I'm still undecided on which direction to take with the future of the blog. I'm definitely going to keep going, but I may need to start a new one.

Meshz, the oven is also run on gas so it was out too. We have a great toaster oven, but it's US voltage and doesn't run so well on our inverter. I will definitely be using it more when we go home though. It's much more energy efficient. I agree with you that baked and grilled stuff is great. I try to do that pretty often to be healthier.

Sandra said...

Megan and Ken, we have had natural gas piped in from Malaysia and recently also from Indonesia for many years now in our HDB flats, not just the newer ones. My husband's flat in Toa Payoh where he lived as a young boy had piped in gas and that was over 40 years ago, it's just that we have the option of using the piped in gas or to use bottled gas. I have always had piped in gas where I have lived, it is so much more convenient.

Brad Farless said...

I've lived in two different flats in Singapore. Both have piped in gas. It just shows up at the end of the month on the utility bill from PUB. I think this might be more a matter of the US Government not wanting to upgrade the houses it uses for 'housing' here, since the gas bottle solution still works.

I actually prefer the power lines being underground. It's safer and you don't have to worry about your power going out during storms.

Anyhow... just to mention something I'd forgotten... I could remember the name of Sonics one day. I spent days thinking about it, trying to imagine the sign.

Anonymous said...

Piped gas is very common in homes here. Those who are using tank gas choose to do so, not because they don't have a choice. Yours is the minority. Like what Brad says, probably the USA govt doesn't want to pay to install the gas pipes.

Megan said...

Very interesting...

I guess I'm not shocked that Uncle Sam doesn't want to pony up and put in pipes. We still have asbestos and lead paint in some of our homes.

Thanks for the clarification, guys.

Mae said...

Most HDB flats in Singapore have the gas piped directly. I stay in the area of the opposition party so we use gas cylinders too like you do. =)

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to comment that we too have have piped gas lines, but I see others have already done that. I love your blog. You have a witty way of writing, but sometimes you make huge statements about ALL of Singapore that just aren't true. Perhaps on your side of the island things are different though.

Megan said...

Thanks for reading and giving me the correct info.

I was wrongly informed in this post. My bad. I incorrectly thought that the gas tanks were a Singapore-wide thing. I only have my experience to go on and so I make mistakes in some of my assumptions. I cannot live in every part of Singapore and meet every person in the country. I can only go on what I see and know from my own experience. So how would I know that things don't apply everywhere? It's all I've ever witnessed.

Please forgive me for being human.

Brad Farless said...

"I only have my experience to go on and so I make mistakes in some of my assumptions. I cannot live in every part of Singapore and meet every person in the country. I can only go on what I see and know from my own experience."

The very definition of a blog. Some people get the mistaken impression that a blog is a definitive piece of journalism that should be completely and factually true when it is, in fact, just a recounting of personal experiences and opinions.

Your blog is great Megan. It reflects who you are and the experiences YOU had in Singapore. Don't listen to the haters.

Debbie said...

I just have to agree with Brad's last statement! Someone posted a *hater* type comment on my husbands blog too! They said something to the effect of his blogs getting progressively more anti-singapore and he should just go back to the US! So rude and unnecessary! (And untrue...most days...) If they don't like it, why read it?

I knew (because we have piped gas) that what you said wasn't totally accurate. But it didn't ruffle my feathers any! I actually found it really interesting because I had never heard of people NOT having piped gas! And I would *hate* running out on a Friday night too!

As for the power, whenever I go to another country in SE Asia (and we LOVE traveling) I am always amazed at the difference between Singapore and so many of the surrounding countries! Power is a perfect example since so many surrounding countries have frequent blackouts! It really is amazing to me all that Singapore has accomplished for being such a young country!

And I'm so sorry about the Lead paint and asbestos for some of the military families! That stinks! We don't do enough for our military families. :(

Anonymous said...

Not to difficukt to see that Brad has an obvious crush on you!

Brad Farless said...

Of all the world's comment trolls, Singapore produces the 'best' I've ever seen.

"GTFO" is a common response to anything a Singaporean doesn't like when it comes from the mouth of a foreigner. It's as if they really can't believe that anything in this country is worthy of criticism, or that a foreigner is ever in a position to level any criticism, regardless of how long they've lived in Singapore. When they can't come up with a legitimate argument, they resort to personal attacks, as if it makes any sense or furthers their argument at all. It's pathetic really.

Debbie, as for your husbands blog, it's only natural that the longer he's away from the US, the more things he'll find to complain about. It's simple homesickness. A lot of people living in foreign countries would completely understand where he's coming from. What you said reminds me of Megan's last post, where she talked about the stages expats go through.

I hate to take the comment thread that way, but I think it seemed relevant.

2nd Anon said...

Hey Brad and others, why get so defensive when someone POLITELY points out a factual error in a posting? Megan wrote "In Singapore, there are no gas lines that connect to each house or apartment", which is obviously wrong. If she wrote "There is no gas line to my flat", no one would have bothered.

I don't see any hate posting for this thread.

Brad, GTFO was what you wrote when I posted about some errors earlier on. Aren't you practicing double standards here?

Anonymous said...

Thank you second Anon. That is exactly my point! Megan, I don't always agree with the things you say on your blog, but I never comment nor am I bothered by most things, because as Brad said, it is YOUR blog and YOUR opinion. That being said, my original comment had to do with the statements you make that summarize all of Singapore, but really aren't true. Dude, jut check your facts, that's all we're saying! And for what it's worth, I am NOT a local here, but an expat as well.

And yes, to whoever said Brad has a crush on true. Anyone that reads Megan's blog knows that Brad would back her no matter WHAT the subject.

Megan said...

Ok. Woah. Woah. Woah.

As I've said before, thank you to those who have provided me with the correct information. I thought I had checked my facts, but apparently I did not check with enough people. Thank you for getting me the correct information. After 10 different people telling me the same thing, I think I've got it.

Can we please stop bashing each other now? This is supposed to be a place where we learn from each other's cultures. Not make each other angry by making accusations.

2nd Anon said...

Megan, I am not bashing you. I am just pointing out to Brad and others their inconsistencies and double standards.

Anonymous said...

Having made the original comment to which we're all discussing, I apologize for causing any problems! I guess I was just feeling a little spunky yesterday. Sorry Megan!

Megan said...

Ha ha! No harm, no foul. I just had to intervene before things turned ugly. As always, I'm thankful to be able to learn something regardless of how it comes about. I'm glad you guys let me know. Thanks again!

justapasserby said...

my house has no gas pipes too! or maybe my parents just didn't install them. heh but it was very funny one night when my mom was cooking halfway and our tank RAN OUT. with our food half cooked. ^^ we were debating between running over to our neighbour's house to finish the dish or waiting for the gas delivery. :P it's actually erh, pretty fun. in a rustic kinda way. =)

anw i guess it's pretty normal for people to get defensive. and while singaporeans themselves may complain alot about singapore, there's this esprit de corp thing that makes us stick together i guess? it's just like i'd complain alot about my sister but i'd hate for anyone else to say bad things about her! haha. =) but that said, i dun think all singaporeans are trollish and resort to personal attacks. =)

have a great trip home megan!

Brad Favre said...

Brad Farless: you don't even want to pay for your flat screen TV... and yet u criticise Uncle Sam about portable gas tanks. Double Standards! As far as I know, military spending has taken it's toll on the govt's expenditure. It's all tax payer's money. For ppl like you, Brad, you don't even work. You won't know anything about paying federal taxes do you? Did you get your W2 this year?

Brad Farless said...

Brad Favre....

I blocked you from commenting on my site after you said you wished a dog had killed me and then insulted me about not wanting to talk to pushy salesmen, so I see you brought your comment trolling over here.

What's wrong with you? Can't you read simple English? Apparently not, since you have no understanding of the post you're harassing me about here. I didn't want to talk to a salesman about buying a TV, because I wasn't there to buy a TV. That was clearly stated in the post. Why would I want to pay for a TV that I didn't want or need? I was there to browse laptops and stopped to watch a preview of a movie that was playing on the TV.

As for not knowing anything about paying federal taxes, I've paid my fair share. In addition to paying taxes, I spent 8 years in the US Army. I think I've given plenty to my government, and done plenty for my country.

To answer your question, no, I didn't receive a W-2. I didn't work last year. So what? Even if I had worked last year, I wouldn't receive a W-2, since it wouldn't have been work in the US. Foreign companies don't hand out US tax documents. Guess what? I may not work this year either, since I'll be going to school full time to finish my degree.

Employment status isn't a factor in personal worth or intelligence.

One more thing. There's a big difference between me brushing off a salesman trying to sell me something I don't want and the US government brushing off housing upgrades for the service personnel that support and defend the country. They're not even in the same ball park, so your argument is ludicrous. Government expenditures in Iraq, wasteful or not, have nothing to do with the issue.

Don't try to sit at your desk, scratching your nuts and spouting off nonsense like you're some sort of saint or great patriot that has done incredible things for your country. I've already done more for my country in my 29 years of life than the majority of Americans will ever do.

Now stop wasting everyone's time with your comment trolling and idiocy.

Anonymous said...

Brad: Grow up... go feed your trolls somewhere else,have some respect! this is Megan's blog!! We are NOT interested in your petty-arguments! We are here to read about Megan!

Brad Farless said...

Ah. I see. The point is that you're trying to act like multiple people in an effort to shame me into not commenting here anymore since I banned you from commenting on my blog.

I enjoy Megan's blog. I don't intend to stop reading it.

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