Brewing in Singapore

One man's adventure of brewing beer in Asia.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Zero to Sixty in Five

The first week is over. It all started so nice and slow, but by the end of the first five days I was running full on. From Monday’s company orientation and long lunch, to being the project manager of not just the brewing equipment and its installation, but for the new brewery building as well as. (luckily, there are people here who know about building buildings – I will be counting on them to help me out). I went on an inspection of the potential contractor’s current job sites so that we could inspect the quality of the welding, metal works and finishing work. We discussed load bearing members, engineering and structural design. I talked about rain catchments, drainage systems, floor thickness, wall coverings and interior layout. We had meetings with Architects, engineers, contractors, finance. We awarded the contract on Friday (the 7th), ground breaking will start by the 14th . I have to learn a new software program “Maximo” to keep track of the billing and purchase orders. And then there is the brewing equipment and installation. I will be keeping busy.

I got my employment pass and now I am a legal alien. This in turn allowed me to open a bank account. Now I can pay for things (like an apartment, hand phone, utilities, etc.). Gotta have the EP. The search for a permanent home started this weekend. On Saturday my realtor, Ai Ling, took me to see 10 different apartments. Ai Ling not only shows me apartments but she advises me on where and what to eat, and she explains the different Singlish* terms I encounter. She really boh beh chow lah. The apartments ranged from the old and very cool, to new, shiny and rather expensive. In the end I decided on one that was rather new, not too expensive, and about 25 minutes closer to work. One day of looking and I had a new home. The new digs are in an area called Bukit Gombak. Bukit means hill, so the area is on a rise in a hilly part of the island. An extra bonus is that it is situated next to a nature reserve. My new apartment is on the 17th floor (above the bugs and most other wildlife) and it overlooks the nature reserve. It is really a very nice view. The apartment is “semi-furnished” meaning that there is a refrigerator, stove, clothes washer, and AC unit (added bonus – has a microwave too!). I will have to buy my own furniture, but that should be fun. I started looking that night. The first place I went I met Alvin - my new furniture pimp. He is going to hook me up. I will need a bed (Alvin convinced me that king size was the way to go as Toby will be visiting often), a guest bed (for all of you who are undoubtedly planning to visit as soon as I moved in), a dining set (small one, maybe seats four), a sofa (big one, big enough to nap on or in case I have more than one guest) and maybe a TV table (and a TV to put on it – Alvin suggest the expensive flat screen unit – of course). Alvin wanted to sell me a wardrobe too but the apartment has built-ins. Sorry Alvin.

On Sunday I decided to walk about. I took the MRT (subway) to the Geylang district. The guide book had promised an older section of town with some nice examples of old fashion buildings. That was enough for me. Once off the train I headed down Geylang road. There were indeed some great older buildings, two or three stories with shops in the bottom and residences or offices above. There were several pet shops filled with exotic fish and birds (one store had hundreds of little brown finches). There were dozens a places to participate in the Singaporean national past time - eating. There were bike shops and hardware stores. There were several mosques and temples. And, although I saw no evidence of it, there was also the largest red light district in town. I was later informed (by a female co-worker) that down all the even numbered side streets (the south side of the street), intermingled with normal residences of average people there are dozens of legal houses of ill repute. They are virtually indistinguishable from the other houses except for the size of the house numbers out front (and I'm guessing the volume of foot traffic at night). How she knew all this I didn’t ask.

On my way back up Geylang road I took a walk through a small park. On one side there was a “river” (drainage way, much like the Los Angles “river”, but smaller). There was a couple standing at the railing looking down in to the river. I wondered what they could be looking at. It was just a cement aqua-duct. I walked a few meters past them and ventured a tentative peak over the edge. Down in the bottom, just coming out of the water was a giant monitor lizard. Not really huge by monitor lizard standards but compared to what I expected to see down there it was a giant. It looked to be just over a meter long. In its mouth was a plastic bag with some yellow fruit in it. It scrambled along and disappeared into a hole in the side of the canal carrying it’s bag of lunch. I should always carry my camera.

I next walked back and then on down Changi road. There was a huge open air market selling just about everything imaginable – Indian clothing, toys, drinks, jewelry, shoes, carpets, CDs, DVD, all kinds of food (both prepared and not), things I couldn’t figure out. It was at least four square blocks of market with hundreds of different stalls. It is the middle of Ramadan and thus (I am told) the market is bigger than usual (about 4 times bigger). I tried several new food items with names I should have written down and can hardly describe. I want to go back at least one more time during Ramadan to try a few more of the less frequently seen dishes. So many new things to try – there just are not enough meals in the day.

*Singlish is a mix of the many different languages spoken in Singapore plus English – thus Singlish – Check out
http://www.talkingcock.com/html/lexec.php?op=LexPKL&lexicon=lexicon

2 Comments:

At 9:40 PM, Blogger kingpebble said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2:21 AM, Blogger Den said...

Wow, I was just messing around and found your page!
Very nice.
If you are interested, go see my pocketbike related site.
It isnt anything fancy but you might still find something of interest.

 

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