I have discovered that seeing a place twice makes me remember it. The first time I'm too caught up in the logistics. One day this week I trotted off to the Esplanade for the second time, where I hoped I'd see more Moonfest activities. Moonfest was apparently over, but I did meet an Indian Yogi.
Moonfest is a Chinese Autumn Festival where they make and eat mooncakes and celebrate the moon. I haven't tried a mooncake yet but they are supposed to have a full egg in the middle of them and are quite expensive to purchase... around S$35 for 4 mini cakes the size of muffins. Last weekend, although a movie and take-out sounded delightful after my shocking week, my daughter and I met Terry at the Esplanade for some Thai food. It was the lantern festival with lots of chinese lanterns, music, and shows - fantastique! We mosied to the upstairs theatre after a divinity moment (the best chocolate ice cream ever) and caught a show of traditional female chinese dancers and traditional male...umm... martial arts/dancers. These guys were in wicked shape and could jump higher than their own height. They slapped and pounded the floors, landed aerials, and performed in unison to make an impact. It was awesome and my spirits were lifted!
Thinking I'd get a repeat, I hopped on the MRT this week and made my way to the Raffles Place stop.... 40 minutes and one transfer later I was in the financial district at lunchtime! Woah! To say it was mesmerizing is an understatement. It was mobbed, I had no idea what direction to walk in, I was hungry, and it was hot. Finally, after about 30 minutes of circling, I found a Starbucks.... coffee and muffin please.... and a seat in the shade with my currently favorite magazine, Human Resources (which I can only find at Starbucks), and a map! Ahhhh.... I came out the wrong exit of the MRT. I managed to find my way to the Esplanade after that only to find that there were no more Moonfest activities. But it was a beautiful day as I wandered around taking in the gorgeous views, sipping on a mango juice. There were lots of tourists around (they also had maps) - I guess partly because Formula One is here this weekend. I almost bought a cup of corn... they sell loose corn here for a snack. It looks just like our corn. :)
On my return to the MRT, I guess I looked calm and happy, thinking about how much I love my flip flops because I can walk and walk and my feet don't hurt. Who knew flip flops could be more comfortable than sneakers? Anyway, an Indian guy stopped me and said, "Excuse me ma'am, your face looks very lucky." I beg your pardon? "Your face is lucky. You are healthy and happy, can I see your forhead?" Umm... sure! "You have three lines." - great, thanks! - "One is happiness and yours says you are very happy. One is health, and you are going to live a long life, die in your sleep peacefully between the ages of 87 and 95." Woohooo! "The middle line is wealth. You think too much about your wealth." Oh dear. After all those books I've read, you'd think I wouldn't do that. Then again, I am unemployed.
I wasn't quite sure what to think, but I went along with it all. He asked to sit down so we did - I was in no hurry. He asked questions, did a little magic trick, tried to tell me my fortune, and I was enjoying the time. Then he told me he was a yogi from India who travels from country to country to talk about meditation and yoga. Oh, too cool! I have manifested this spectacular meeting! I'm brilliant!! He asked if I was poor, medium, or rich. Well, obviously I'm not poor nor rich, so of course I'm medium. He had written P - 50, M - 100, R - 150 on his paper. He told me since I am medium, I should pay him S$100 and he will tell me three ways I can improve my wealth. Bahhahahahahah! I asked him if he was offering this as a service? He said no, he is a yogi from India who travels from country to country and does not get paid for what he does. I said, well, is this a service you are offering for me to pay for? Nope. So I said, I'll pay you S$4 because I enjoyed my time but that's it. He was not very happy, but I was, and I walked away. He told me I will have an unhappy heart because I would not give him more money.
I give buskers money. I give beggars money sometimes. I donate money and time. I pay for services. But I was not told he worked on a fee for service basis or that he was asking for charity. I do feel lucky (and my heart is shining with happiness). And maybe my face showed it. Or maybe this guy thought, there's a white tourist and she must have money. Maybe not. The point is, it happens.
Discrimination happens frequently here. The country does not tolerate racial slurs or disrespect of other cultures or religions. But you might not get hired if you are an expat wife who doesn't need the money... or if you are planning on having children... or if you don't look the part... or you're too old. There are no employment discrimination laws here. There is an organization that promotes hiring a person for their skills, but it's not enforced in any way.
I may have a lucky face, but I'm not counting on luck to find a job. I joined the American Association of Singapore and have started attending workshops (also an excellent reason to explore another part of the city).