Days 3-6: The Week Flies By!

2/18/2012
Today is Sunday and as I head into week 2 of my Singapore adventure, I realize that daily blogging is probably a tad unrealistic. For the last four days I've been traveling all over the city observing classes, meeting with Workforce Development Agency's General Skill Development Division (WDA-GSDD) managers, getting my employment pass and giving workshops. In addition to my daily bus rides back and forth to the Institute for Learning offices, I have taken more than 25 taxi rides. I like the blue ones the best. :-)

 This taxi time has constituted my "tour" of the sites of Singapore. Sadly, I could not take decent photos out of rolled up taxi windows (air conditioning!!) but some of the things I saw whizzing by were: The Mica building with its rainbow shutters -- I really think it should become the official site of lighthearted learning:
A hotel (The Marina Sands) with a ship ontop linking its three towers.
Frankly, the idea of this just makes me nervous and feels like a 2012 movie moment in the making. I have it on the best authority that the pool on the ship has a vanishing horizon, so you feel like you are on the edge of the building as you swim. Nice to have an excuse for not going up to the pool.

And I've also driven by the very swank estates owned by the various embassies. The Brunei embassy is right near the office. I was hoping for an invitation to a few embassy soirees, but the news of my arrival in Singapore has obviously not reached the appropriate people. I can only imagine what the air conditioning is like in those places!!

I've seen the exteriors of many lovely buildings: the Art museum, History museum, Science museum, and Parliament, so I can, in all truth, say I have seen the outside of some of the most important places in Singapore. And of course, I've also driven down Orchard Street--twice! (This is the Rodeo Drive/5th Avenue of Singapore) It's probably the most economical way to take in that street, with a taxi window and two lanes of traffic between my credit card and the stores. And on a financial note--I am continually taken aback and somewhat delighted at the tipless fare for cabs. Tipping is not the norm for many services.(Although it is often included in the meal charges.) Yesterday's lunch bill was a bit of a shock though-- after a lunch of stew and iced tea, I saw that the drink refills Joan and I had requested came to 30.00. Yeesh! Lesson learned.

We've had a few big thunderstorms--and some very lovely breezes, but mostly it's been hot, hot, hot. (Something about blogging brings out my inner Eloise). And that brings me to my tale of woe. My first workshop on Friday was in the a high tech meeting room at an agency called Caliber Links. Much to my dismay, about halfway through the workshop, said room began to get hot, hot, hot. Where was my beloved AC? How was it possible that inside this state-of-the-art center I would be sweating bullets?!! I'm sure the recording of that session will be hysterical: the viewer will see me do the best I can to "keep my cool" and then, whenever the participants are engaged in their tasks, I rush over to the observers and ask if the room is warm to them. It turns out that the building shuts off the air at 6, I mean the AIR!!! and I suspect they began shutting down at 5. Our session went until 7. All was manageable until those last 20 minutes when I literally saw people losing consciousness. Oh sure, I know what you're thinking--you put 'em to sleep, Jayme--but no, I swear, we were all dying insects in a jar and if it had gone on any longer I would have started punching holes somewhere.

I was forewarned and forearmed for yesterday's Saturday session, but was told that, despite the warm, moist air in the"state-of-the-art" room, there was nothing to be done: the AC was controlled throughout the "whole building." Interestingly, when I went into the offices of the building administrators, it was working perfectly. harrumph.  We will be doing more training at this site next Friday and Saturday, and I am going to have to figure out a solution: perhaps a bucket of ice that I can plunge into every half hour or so. I'll try to work it into the training.

Speaking of training--that vernacular is the hardest for me to manage...teachers are trainers, learners are trainees. The K-12 system here is called PET- pre-employment training. The words teachers and learners keep coming out of my mouth and I have to stuff them back in. 

Later this morning I will go out to observe another class and then this coming week I will be observing and supporting the 21 different trainers who attended the first round of workshops. Taxi time again! 

I will do my best to be a better blogger in the week ahead, but if you don't hear from me until next weekend, forgive me--I promise to be saving up stories to share.
xoxoxoxxo