The Peril of Singapore’s Library System

Today we paid for membership to Singapore’s libraries. (If you’re Singaporean you get access for free, if you’re a permanent resident it’s ten dollars a year, but for foreign trash like myself, it’s fifty dollars.)

Singapore has some great libraries. We were at the National Library, which, although underground is light and airy, and has a wonderful children’s section. There’s an enormous facsimile of a tree in the middle (Singaporeans like malls where they can get away from nature, but they like being reminded of nature while they’re indoors) and lots of spaces for children to rush about and burn off energy in between reading.

La Serpiente was very excited. She read about twenty books (well, she brought about twenty books for her mother to read) and we also accumulated a small following of children listening to my wife read. Meanwhile I was on Destroyer duty, so I took her to the adult fiction section to look at unsuitable books (Kim Newman’s An English Ghost Story and James Ellroy’s Perfidia, neither of which were books I’d expected to find in a Singaporean library) and then read some of them to her in between wrangling my elder daughter. Given the joyful expression La Serpiente had, visits to the library will have to be a regular occurrence.

It has been a busy day. We got up at 8:30 to see Singapore invisible behind the shroud of the haze. A taxi took us the mile required to get to eggs, a taxi brought us back again. I managed a spin class (I felt much stronger with a full breakfast and a good night’s sleep in me) and then rebuilt one bed this afternoon before we went to the library. We also had a great meal at Platypus, an inexplicably Antipodean named restaurant near the library, that serves dishes like poutein, that renowned Quebecois snack. A successful day, although I’ve lost several hours to reading An English Ghost Story. Now will I sleep?


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