I met Bunbun and Prem today!!! Both Bunbun and Prem translated on volare before I did.
At the time, I was translating on my own site. Etvo had actually tried recruiting me six months prior, but I didn’t want to give up on my site, so I refused her at first. Later on, I became Prem’s reader, and we started talking. We got along really well, and we would joke around a lot. He is my second Singaporean friend; I had met both him and Fallen during the summer of 2016.
Hence, I was more receptive to translating on volare when Prem brought it up. Eventually, Etvo found out we were close and asked me to join a second time. This time, I agreed! I probably wouldn’t have joined volare if it wasn’t for Prem, and things would be quite different now. (I eventually ended up managing volarenovels, and working on Wuxiaworld, hiring over 30 people for Ren)
Anyway, I remembered Prem was very punny and we would talk for hours about random stuff. At one point, he told me he had a crush on Bunbun, and I was supporting him from behind my laptop. I had also read Bunbun’s translations, and knew of her since we were all translating on the same site. But at the time, I didn’t know her well since we had never spoken privately.
Eventually, Prem and Bunbun met in person, and they started dating shortly after. Hehe. Because Prem and I used to talk A LOT, he told me all the juicy details and the thoughts that were running through his mind. It was actually so cute. Good job for being brave, Prem!
And now, they’re happily married!!
It’s so neat because they wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for translating, and then they would’ve never gotten together!
Sadly, Bunbun and Prem stopped translating several years ago, and they are doing their own thing now. Nonetheless, I still message them once in a while, and funnily enough, I have spoken to Bunbun more over the recent years instead of Prem!
However, when I told them I was coming, they were both looking forward to seeing me. They took off Monday because they thought it would be less crowded and wanted to take me around the Marina Bay Sand area.
That morning, I took the subway and got off at the Bayfront stop (I think). When I exited the station, I saw a casino entrance in the mall, and there were a lot of luxury brands around.
I was a bit early, so I took a brief look around the mall. The mall had a canal and a whirlpool thing in the ceiling. It was hardcore.
Soon, Bunbun and Prem messaged me and said they were already in front of Bacha Coffee.
I could see them from where I was, but because of the canal, I couldn’t actually walk right over. I had to walk up some stairs and cross over a bridge and then down some stairs. They were looking around, but I could see them from above. I sound so creepy, right? Haha.
Anyway, I had already known what they looked like because I have their social media, so there weren’t any surprises there. I exclaimed, “Bunbun! Prem!” And they saw me!
They both gave me super nice hugs, and they were the best greeting hugs I had in Singapore. I give them a 5 star rating!!
We were actually a little dressed up since we were going to have lunch at a fancy restaurant (I forget the name lol. It’s up on a very high building). There was a business casual dress code.
We first got some croissants from Bacha Coffee, and Prem went to his car to grab a knife. Yeah, you heard me! A knife. I was like, “Why do you have a knife in your car?” Hahaha.
We needed the knife to cut the croissants, and Prem happened to have a disposable knife in his car. They also gave me a mini-fan and a mini moon cake because it was around Mid-Autumn’s Festival! It was so sweet of them.
We ordered three different croissants, and my favourite one was the kaya one. It was super tasty. Then, Bunbun and I ordered a drink at a café to go.
After Prem returned, we quickly ate and went outside to take some pictures and explored a bit. It was quite hot. I asked them about the casino, and Prem told me that Singaporeans actually need to pay $150 in order to enter!! So if him and Bunbun were to go inside the casino, they would have to pay $300 before they could even play anything. However, it would be free for me since I was a foreigner.
I was stunned. Damnnnn. Singapore is so strict!!!?? I feel like the west would have a revolution if we had these types of laws/requirements/restrictions.
We then walked towards Gardens by the Bay!! Prem had already booked everything ahead of time, and I only had to follow along (thank you Prem!). He said he wanted to make my experience as memorable and fun as possible, and initially, they had wanted to take me to a restaurant that was inside the gardens, but they were closed that day.
While we were exploring Gardens by the Bay, I was very impressed by the presentation and experience. It is far nicer than what we have in Toronto. Our plants look dead and burnt, and everything looks like it’s over half a century old. Ugh.
We chatted about the education system in Singapore, and I won’t go into details since you guys might find it boring. But my Bunbun is from National University of Singapore! She is a smart bun! Hehe. Personally, I don’t care which college/university people go to, but apparently it’s a big deal because it’s extremely competitive. Good job, Bunbun!!
Prem is very proud he has a smart wife. Hehe.
We actually took quite a lot of pictures, but I didn’t post that many on my social media. You can go on my IG if you are interested in viewing it. Here’s one picture if you’re too lazy.
After spending nearly two hours in the gardens, we went to the restaurant! Oh! I remember now! This is where that infinity pool is!!! Except, if you want to enter the pool, you have to stay there overnight, and it probably cost over $500/ night.
I might try it one day, but I’m so cheap… so we’ll see.
What if it goes up to $1000/night by the time I am less cheap? *sobs*
I mean, my flights and six nights of hotel cost me $2000 in total… it’s hard to justify spending $500 for one night…
ANYWAY, Prem and Bunbun remembered my birthday was the next day! (I am not sure how they remembered… I might have told Prem years ago. Hmmm.) And they wanted to treat me to a very high-end lunch!
It was actually soooo delicious! We had three courses and chatted a lot more. Prem said that I was exactly what he had expected. He said I am so extroverted. But I did the MBTI test recently, and I’m only 63% extroverted!! I feel like I’m more introverted since I like a lot of alone time… I like doing things alone, and I enjoy being alone too. However, compared to most of my friends, I seem extremely crazy to them.
To be fair, I like interesting conversations, so if my friends/people are shy, I would take control of the conversation and try to come up with interesting topics to make the conversation go in a certain direction. But if they like to share or talk a lot, I am also completely ok with being the listener and observer. But most of my friends tend to be on the quieter end, so I end up facilitating more.
After we were done eating, we took more pictures, and then went to get bubble tea! I forget which chain we went to, but it was pretty good.
Next, we changed our outfits because we were going to go biking! That’s right! But it’s not what you think it is. I can’t ride a normal bike because I would ride in circles if I get nervous.
Prem drove to East Coast Park (or somewhere in the east coast lol).
The bikes we went on actually looked like this:
It was such a great experience!! When Bunbun showed me photos the first time, I was like, “OMG. Let’s do it!”
But because there were three of us, it wasn’t very balanced. Me and Bunbun were sitting at the front, while Prem was behind me. But since the weight was so uneven, Bunbun got really tired.
Prem also slacked off from time to time and did not pedal that much. So after a while, Bunbun switched spots with him.
I think Bunbun was relieved when she rode behind me. We stopped from time to time to rest, and they were impressed that I was able to handle the Singapore heat and not die (I was semi-dying).
After a while, we arrived by a pier, and me and Prem sang 听海 as we passed by the ocean. It was soooooo nice!!!! Let me link the song so you know what I’m talking about. Haha. The title actually means “listen to the ocean”.
We then chatted some more, and I mentioned how I was actually surprised by how little dialect I had heard since arriving in Singapore. I was told that Singaporeans also spoke Cantonese and Hokkien, but I had probably heard 2% of the people speaking Cantonese, and I didn’t even hear any Hokkien!?!?! At least, not at any of the places I had gone to. I heard Mandarin, but mainly in restaurants/food places and taxis. I’d say maybe I heard Mandarin 30% of the time, and the rest was in English.
Prem and Bunbun told me that the younger generation nowadays have worse Chinese than our generation. In fact, some of them can’t speak at all. And they said that if people are really good at speaking their dialect, it usually means that their grandparents had probably raised them, and most often than not, they are probably of a lower socioeconomic status.
I find that quite sad, but at the same time, it makes sense. In Canada, most of the immigrants from my parents’ generation don’t know English either. They had come to Canada hoping for a better life, and often struggled a lot in order to put food on the table.
Due to the language barrier, their job opportunities are/were very limited. I think it’s the same in Singapore. It’s fine if you don’t know Chinese, but if you don’t know English, then you’re quite screwed.
Apparently, Singapore became a country of its own in 1965, and it was after that the school curriculum changed to English. So the generation from the 60s-70s probably have better Chinese. Meanwhile, the generation from the 80s-90s are more bilingual, and the 00s-10s are basically bananas (yellow on the outside, but white on the inside).
Prem also told me that it was illegal in Singapore to put up the Singaporean flag if it wasn’t the national month. I couldn’t believe it. Apparently it is illegal because then people wouldn’t know when national month is. (Note: I haven’t done my research, so please do your research if you want more information)
Then, they shocked me even more and told me that if they had smoked marijuana overseas, they could still go to jail or be arrested if they were caught in Singapore through random testing.
Vaping is also illegal. I don’t do drugs, but perhaps it’s so common in the west, I was really surprised that vaping is not allowed. I thought it was like a personal choice and it wouldn’t affect others. But it’s addictive, so perhaps you could get other people addicted if you share the stick (not sure what it’s called) with them. But isn’t that the same for cigarettes?
I guess the government really wants to control their people. They call Singapore a nanny state.
Anyway, don’t ever come to Singapore if you love drugs.
At one point, we made a brief stop at a hawker center. But the one we went to wasn’t opened yet. It catered to the night crowd, and it was only afternoon at the time. Me and Bunbun took a quick look around, and she told me it was recently renovated. She says it would probably be busiest between 8-11pm.
We returned the bike around 5:30pm, and Prem drove me back to my hotel so I could rest for a bit before I saw Chai and her family.
I gave them a big farewell hug and told them that if they ever come to Toronto, I’d take them around as well and treat them back! Thank you again for putting so much thought into making my experience as enjoyable as possible, Prem and Bunbun. ❤
Meanwhile, Chai told me her family would pick me up around 6:30-6:45pm. I took the time to do some work and answer some emails.
Chai is one of the first people I had trained back when I started managing volare! I remembered she worked on UPX with me, and we would joke around because we love Xiaoyao’s reactions. UPX is such a funny novel! Do read it if you enjoy something ridiculous. I had continued it from chapter 270. It was initially Ruyi’s project.
Chai has always been super chill and fun. I would joke and call her Chill Chai. AHAHA. Previously, her sister was studying in Boston for a semester, and her family decided to come help her settle down and also drop by Toronto on the way.
So back in the winter of 2019, I met Chai and her family! I remembered it was around 4 degrees that day, and Chai’s mom was coughing and dying from the cold. I told her they were already lucky, since the previous week was -10 Celsius.
We ate at a Chinese restaurant, and then went karaoke that night! We sang a lot and had a blast. But because I treated Chai and her family for karaoke, her parents felt like they had to treat me back if I ever come to Singapore, so they took me out for dinner on the 12th and we went to eat at Haji Lane!
It was very nice to see Chai and her family again. Chai’s mom is super talkative and friendly. Her sister is also quite talkative, and so is Chai. Chai’s father is more quiet and the observant type. He doesn’t say much, but he is paying attention.
We sat outside, and it was SUPER HOT. I was sweating so much even though there was no sun. The humidity is so high in Singapore.
We had Mediterranean food, and all of us also ordered a cocktail except for Chai’s dad. Chai’s father had beer. I was sitting next to Chai, and across from Chai’s mom. Chai’s sister was sitting facing Chai, and her father was next to his mom.
Surprisingly, I ended up talking to Chai’s mom more than Chai because Chai’s mom is SOOOOOO talkative and she asked me so many questions!!
It was very nice though. Chai’s mom also told me that ghost month had ended recently, and that some people would leave offerings on the streets for the ghosts. She also mentioned there were performances for ghosts too.
I guess Singaporeans really treat ghosts well. Lol
Then again, I don’t know anything so perhaps this is an asian thing. I remembered a long long time ago, I went to China and my mom’s family made us leap over fire and also pray in every direction. There are so many traditions and rituals.
My mom says it’s bad luck to wash your hair on Lunar New Year, because you’ll wash all your luck away. There’s also a tradition that tells a woman not to shower or wash their hair A MONTH after they give birth. Apparently, that’s when the woman’s body is at their weakest and they must prevent “wind” from getting in.
Oh, I went off topic. Chai’s mom then asked me why drugs are so common in the west. I said, I don’t know, but people like to feel high, I guess? We have shops that sell marijuana every five minutes downtown. And it’s everywhere. There are also a lot of mentally unstable people. I don’t think it’s obvious in Singapore if someone is crazy, but here, people act really crazy.
Ex. I saw someone get on a streetcar and declare themselves as a “mother nature princess”. I’ve also seen countless people singing, crying, rapping like they want to kill someone, screaming, moaning, cursing in public transportation or downtown. Sometimes, they’d just sit in the middle of traffic, or roll around.
In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever gone downtown in the past two decades and not encountered a mentally unstable person. Fortunately, they are harmless most of the time.
Chai’s mom complained that Chai doesn’t plan to get married and will wait until she is 35 to get her own place. In Singapore, they want to encourage young people to settle down, so couples who get married could apply for government housing and purchase a place at a lower cost. Otherwise, the individual would have to wait until they’re 35 before they could apply.
Chai says she enjoys the single life, and she is at peace right now. HAHAHAHA. Her mom did not like her answer.
We explored the area some more after we were done eating. Then, I mentioned that I wanted to see the Marina Bay light show, and Chai’s father drove us down to watch it!
Oh! I forgot to mention that earlier during the day, Prem, Bunbun and I went inside the LV store, and it actually goes under the ocean and is in the middle of the water. It is SO cool.
This time, we went to the Apple Store that was floating in the middle. Here’s a picture I found online. Singapore has SUPERRRR nice architecture!
The light show was quite pretty, but we watched it from behind, so the people on the other side probably would have had a different experience. You can watch some clips from my instagram.
There were also a lot of buskers singing/performing. After the light show, we went to the Helix bridge and Chai’s family told me that Singapore was going to host the Formula 1 racing competition shortly after I leave. The prices of the hotel would be 5x higher due to the high demand.
Singapore is so rich!!!
Sadly, I didn’t have time during my trip to view the night show from Gardens by the Bay. I will do so next time!!! Chai said I’m not missing out, but I think those Supertrees look sooooo cool.
After the light show, Chai’s dad dropped me off back at the hotel. It was a pity that I didn’t get to spend more time with Chai. I would see her again on Day 6 and 7, but because it was a bigger group, it was hard to have a more personal talk. Next time, I have to spend time more quality time with Chai! Thank you for taking time to spend with me, Chai!! Thank your parents and sister too. Maybe share this post with them! *wink*
Hope you guys enjoyed my Day 4!