AN AMERICAN EXPAT’S CHRISTMAS IN SINGAPORE by Michael Man

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So does this expat past the years of youthful merry making

with swinging parties and heart throbbing music in clubs and bars

still enjoy Christmas in Singapore? 

Yes, I certainly do.

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Christmas Day is really no big deal to me anymore.   I’m talking 25 December.  Or  December 25th as we say in the U.S.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday season.  My partner and I are the kind of old people who put our tree and decorations up as soon as possible in November.  We spend most of December in the States and we want some time to enjoy the tree while we are still in Singapore, even if it may be embarrassingly early to some.   We start playing The Jackson Five Ultimate Christmas Collection at midnight on Halloween.   Not.  Joking.

Avoiding travel insanity in the U.S. around the holidays is a must for us, so we solve it by having a ‘Merry Little Christmas’ over there with family just a wee bit early, then we hightail it back to the Little Red Dot to avoid the Christmas travel rush.

So what to do during the holidays in Singapore?  Where should we make merry?

Movies on Christmas day are a must.  Last year I made the mistake of booking Cathay Platinum Suite tickets to ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ on the eve of Christmas Eve.   My jetlag was in full swing and sadly, the loud sound of Hobbits battling Orcs was not enough…not NEARLY enough to keep me awake as I snored loudly (so I am told) in my down blanket cocoon and ‘lay-almost–flat’  leather recliner.   ‘The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug’ is off my Christmas movie list this year.

What did we actually see on Christmas day last year?

‘Wreck-It Ralph’.   Also.  Not.  Joking.

I learned my lesson quickly.  Jet lag is not to be messed with and ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ was silly fun.  This year we will see ‘12 Years a Slave’.  The reviews are out of this world and I will NOT fall asleep.  I hope.

When making merry, one should also eat and drink.   But where?  Simple.  Din Tai Fung.  There is a famous Chinese food scene in the classic American film, ‘A Christmas Story’.   Ralphie and his family end up freaking out over Peking duck when it comes out of the kitchen with its head attached.   I have done nearly the same in Singapore; only substitute Peking duck with Fish Head Curry.   I kept my cool upon spying the head and ended up enjoying one of the most memorable and tasty meals of my life.  But I digress.  Since seeing that movie, I have often sought out Chinese food on Christmas Day.  And Din Tai Fung is simply my favorite.   The Xiao Long Bao.  The Pork Chop.  The Fried Rice with Shrimp and Eggs.   Who needs a ham when you can have pork dumplings?

I look forward to coming home on Christmas Day, stuffed to my ears with dumplings and hitting the couch, remote in hand and seeing what movie is on.  Maybe it will be ‘The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey’.  If so I will try not to fail to stay awake and watch it.

So does this expat past the years of youthful merry making with swinging parties and heart throbbing music in clubs and bars still enjoy Christmas in Singapore?  Yes, I certainly do.

Merry Christmas Everyone! Image

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