Friday 14 February 2014

Arsenal 0-0 Man United [Molly Roffey's, Singapore]

Hello from Singapore.

Usually when writing match updates for the first time in a new city or country, I'll do a little piece about the place I'm visiting and then something about the atmosphere of the pub/casino/lounge/bookmakers where I watched Arsenal with local Gooners. Finally, I'll very, very briefly talk about the match performance and implications of the result etc.

This time round, as much as I want to share my thoughts about a country that I'm deeply impressed with, I'm going to do football first, otherwise I'll likely spontaneously combust.

Many Arsenal fans' house-style of choice
Some people, through a variety of life choices, decide to live under rocks. I've never seen these rocks advertised for rent or sale in any estate agent window, on or on Craigslist. I've Googled the term but have failed to find anything useful. Perhaps you have to belong to some kind of 'under rock dwellings' club. But, judging by the sheer onslaught of hermits that have taken to the tweet-waves, Facebook groups and online forums after the Man United match, they definitely exist.

There must be whole housing estates with detached rocks, townhouse rocks and rock apartments, each one complete with internet connection, monitor and keyboard, where hundreds of like-minded numskulls simultaneously try to prove a very invalid point.

The point they try to make is that Arsenal's season is over, they emphasise that the club is currently in a disastrous scenario equivalent to DEFCON 1. These fans are foaming at the mouth like a doberman with acute rabies. Toys the size of elephants have been lobbed out of prams and many heads are wanted on a plate. 

Those that don't have soup for brains will instead define this scenario as being 'one point behind the leaders in the Premier League and still in two cup competitions'.

After the horror show at the weekend against Liverpool, the last thing anybody wanted - but the thing that many feared the most - was the start of an all-too-familiar season implosion. It was the same fear that people had after the embarrassing scoreline at the Ethihad last December. But, after that game we had a disappointing draw, at home, with Moan-rinho's chavs, which led way to a run that would see us take nineteen out of twenty one points in the league (not to mention comprehensive victories over the Spuds and Coventry in the FA Cup). During this run we remained top of the Premier League.

Did we spend money on a striker in January? No. Do we have oil money? No. Do we want to become a sugar-daddy club and give up everything that has made us who we are and who we continue to be? No. Is our season over? No. Unfortunately there are too many glass-half-emptiers out there that want to answer 'yes' to all those questions but the reality is that we've already taken a massive step forward in becoming title challengers again. Bad results happen in football, they happen to every team and that includes both Chelsea and Man City, as is evident over the past few days.

What is most important is that once again we have responded to a horrible result in the most desirable manner that we could wish for, we just didn't get the result that we wanted. Instead we take momentum and belief into our next game, which is all that the team, and the supporters, should be focusing on.

So, rant out of the way, let me tell you what I think of Singapore. I love it, and I haven't even ventured into the downtown core yet. The weather is fantastic, if a little humid (what do you expect from a country practically on the equator?), and the food is absolutely magnificent. People say that Singapore is expensive but to be honest, it doesn't seem any different to Australia or New Zealand. In fact, in Singapore, I can eat far better food and travel further with public transport, for considerably less outlay than those other countries. I haven't had a look into living expenses and so on, but maybe there are a few rocks that I can live in under, on the super-cheap.

One of many Singapore viewpoints
I loved the city that served as my first introduction to Asia, Hong Kong. It's a great place and perhaps feels more authentically 'Asia' than Singapore, but I'm not sure if I could live there. It's too crowded and too smoggy, and when I left, the weather was surprisingly Britain-like (for those that don't know, think multiple shades of grey). Singapore, to me, is almost the perfect blend between east and west, and it's on the doorstep to many different countries too. There's an awful lot going on in this place and I think it would maybe be easier to find your 'own Singapore' rather than your 'own Hong Kong'. Anyway, it's just my personal opinion. I've also only been here a few days so perhaps I'm being too judgmental too soon.

Dedicated Arsenal Supporters at Molly Roffey's
Singapore has a very active Arsenal Supporters club. They have a dedicated pub where they watch all their matches, Molly Roffey's, and it was there that we watched the United match. I would say around fifty Gooners came to watch, which isn't bad when you consider the game kicked off at 3:45am locally. The pub itself is also adorned with Arsenal flags, shirts and memorabilia, so they've really made it their home - something which I encourage other supporters clubs worldwide to think about doing.

Right now I'm staying with Jeffrey Tan, a local Singaporean, and he's been really helpful in showing me around his area, Hougang, which lies to the east of downtown Singapore. I think it's really important to befriend a local here as they can take you to the best hawker food centres and will ensure that you get great quality food without getting ripped off. I know I keep going on about food, but you can't come to Singapore and not talk about it, it's everywhere and it's bloody marvellous. 

I will also be watching the Liverpool FA Cup match here, so hopefully I can fill you in on some other non-food related Singapore niceties in a few days! Until then.



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