Singapore Apartment Hunting Mayhem – Part Zero

By Dave Fox

If you have never tried hunting for an apartment before – in a country where you have spent less than 72 hours total, where you have no clue what sort of neighborhood would be right for you, and while jetlag has impaired your ability to make rational decisions – I recommend trying it, but only  if you are forced to choose between that, or getting 27 tetanus shots while eating raccoon carpaccio with Sarah Palin.

I recently undertook this activity. (Hunting for an apartment in a foreign country, not eating raccoon carpaccio with Ms. Palin.) I then attempted to blog about it. I ended up writing way too many words of rambling, self-absorbed drivel – nothing new for me, but this was worse than usual.

After struggling for more than a week to flog this story into good-enough-for-a-blog readability, my wife Kattina finally said, “Dave…. Dave?… DAAAVE!! Why are you doing this? Why are you tormenting yourself over a story you don’t think is very interesting, which is making you crazy, and which is making me crazy because you are acting crazy? It’s your blog! Editors are not waiting for this story. Your blog readers are not waiting for this story. It’s a crappy story. Why don’t you spend your time writing something useful, such as why you will not eat raccoon carpaccio with Sarah Palin?”

Kattina was right. Sometimes, we writers get so wrapped up in a story, we don’t realize it isn’t working. Just because we’ve spent a lot of time on it does not mean we should spend more time to get it done. Sometimes, we are better off putting a story that’s not working to rest, and moving on to something else.

So I did that. I stopped writing my story.

Then, a faithful blog reader e-mailed to remind me I had promised to write about my Singapore apartment hunt. She couldn’t wait to read it, she said. When would it be finished?

I like my faithful readers – a lot – usually. Until they remind me of my promises.

One of the few things I hate more than getting 27 tetanus shots is disappointing my faithful readers. This reader was right. Even though I learned long ago never to promise an unfinished story is “coming soon,” I had done it. Good or not, I needed to unleash the arduous details of how I landed in my Singapore home.

So I got back to work, reworking some paragraphs, slashing others, and using others still as an excuse to go get another beer. I think, after too many hours, I have actually come up with something readers will enjoy – in small doses. So tomorrow, I shall start telling the tale.

If you’ve ever watched the TV show, “Househunters International,” you might think international house hunting is simple, and ever so slightly glamorous. On the show, a realtor shows an expat or family of expats three potential abodes. They deliberate over which one is best. They pick one. Thirty minutes and a couple of commercial breaks later, they move in. They are happy in the end. Roll credits.

But here’s something Househunters International doesn’t tell you  I have received inside information from a reliable source that each episode is shot after the house hunters have not only chosen a place, but moved in. The scenes where they look at unfurnished homes? The crew removes the furniture from the home the family has already moved into. When it’s time to shoot the last scene, with the happy new residents settled in, they put the furniture back.

I tell you this for two reasons: (1) In real life, international house hunting (or in my case, apartment hunting) involves far more angst than the fabricated drama you see on TV, and (2) oh, I just felt a need to expose this alleged dirty little secret about reality television.

I should reiterate, lest I get sued by an American production company with expensive lawyers, I have not verified these rumors about the show. Perhaps what is really fabricated is the information I’ve been given from my “reliable source.” But I doubt it.

In any case, beginning tomorrow, I will unleash my own, true, rambling drivel about my recent Singapore apartment hunt. Just how rambling is this drivel? It is so rambling, I have decided to drag it out on this blog for an entire week.


So tune in tomorrow for the first installment, in which you will read about the beginnings of our search, wild monkeys, how to take a bath with Wolf Blitzer, and a place called Talk Cock Sing Song.

Published on Monday, September 26, 2011

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