Into the Mouth of a Gigantic Merlion

in travel •  7 months ago


merlion

After completing my half-year long Steemit-exclusive novel, I told myself that I deserve a break, a vacation of sorts to charge my batteries. During the last week of publishing, I had been marred by recurring internet woes (which is still happening as I write this) which prevented me from engaging normally on Steemit. I was fortunate that it happened immediately after I wrapped it up, or else it would've been a major disaster in terms of publishing regularly. But, enough about that.

Last week, I went with my fiancée @randomli, my parents and my little sister to Singapore, for an impromptu vacation. No matter how much I try to tell myself that it was a reward for hard work I put into publishing A Day in the Clouds, the truth is that it was a vacation requested by my sister because this was probably the last year she would be able to go on vacation before she's knee deep in her residency (med school). The thing is though, I don't have any funds and I don't have any source of income for the foreseeable future. So, you could figure how stressed I was when they asking telling demanding me to join them.

Suffice to say, I folded. They did use my fiancée as bait to ensure my participation. Also, they promised to cover most of the expenses, so who was I to complain? (I'm @jedau, by the way, for those of you who really don't know who I am)

It was my first time to go to Singapore, so I figured I could use the experience as fuel for a Steemit post or two, seeing as all those travel posts make tons of moolah. Since I don't have tons of SP, a sexy body, a pleasing face or whatever aesthetic quality that attracts upvotes, might as well do what I enjoy most — write stories. I could do a 300-word post, pepper in some travel pictures, rake in the cash and call it a day, but I feel like I'm just cheating people and gaining money with very little effort. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to rag on anybody here. To each their own, and all that stuff. Personally, I just prefer working hard for the money, s'all.


merlioncoin
Cha Ching!

I wrote these stories whenever we were in transit during the trip. In a way, it's a first hand look to all of the experiences we had, though in a more fictional sense. To anyone who has read my SILVER LINING series, consider this a similar post for my Singapore mini-series. So, yeah, anyway, onward to the stories, er, explanation! (Click the link of the titles to proceed to the story itself)
 
 
 
 


SINGA-ONE!


The State of Fun



sentosa
"Fun" is right!

This was inspired by Sentosa's slogan, "The State of Fun." I love playing around with words, and since 'state' has wildly different definitions, I figured, why not make that the basis of a dystopian story? Instead of referring to it as a nation or territory, I used its definition of being a particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time.

Singapore has got to be one of the most impressive Asian countries to date. It took leaps and bounds to become the prominent country it is today by relying solely on innovation and a stable infrastructure. Huge respect for that!

But, what really solidified the plot for me here was when I noticed the ride operator for the Tiger Sky Tower burying her head on her arm as we ascended. She looked bored out of her mind and wanted to be anywhere else but there. There I sat thinking that there are a lot of other people who would be lucky to be sitting where she was sitting. She had a 360 view of Singapore, and she was being paid, I assume, more than the minimum wage for that minimal amount of work. Sure, she might be going through life stuff, but then I thought, even when you do something other people find exciting every day of your life, there just has to be moments when you feel like you're so over it. That's when it hit me.


lighbulb
Image Source

Addicts go for more intense highs when they get used to something, and I don't mean to compare those people to addicts but yeah ... You get it. I tried to show some STEEM love there as well, peppering in some UBI concepts and a little sci-fi flavor. All in all though, this is more of a thought piece. A dystopian story in a utopian society.


SINGA-TWO!


The Eternal Queue



universal
Long lines here we come!

We did, as most tourists do, touristy things to pass our day. @randomli crafted a detailed itinerary, and we tried our best to follow it to the tee. It was a great blend of touristy activities, shopping and eating a little bit of the local cuisine. One cannot simply go to Sentosa without visiting Universal Singapore Studios. Of course, one could, but that would be too un-touristy. So, we did.

You can tell based on the story how much lining up we did for the entire trip. Especially that Transformers Ride oy vey! I actually wrote this last, while we were on our flight back, and would you believe that the story of the landing being delayed was true?? Spoiler alert: that really happened. Haha! Okay, sure, we were delayed about an hour and we weren't still up in the air come sunrise, but it surely felt like we did. At first, I thought it would be great to stretch out the story to days and weeks, until the passengers forget their normal lives and instead make a new society inside the plane. Be all quirky and stuff. But, just when I was about to extend the story, the fasten seatbelt sign went up.


seatbelt
Image Source

I really wanted the reader to feel like standing in a long queue when reading this. A long queue that moves slowly every time you feel like getting comfortable. You ever had one of those experiences? Just when you're about to sit, boom! The line moves just enough to make you feel obliged to move as well. Lines are the worst.


SINGA-THREE!


You Don't Need Me



hearthumb
Friendzone me all you want, we're still set to be married

I love my fiancée. Positively love her to bits, in fact. But, as much as I hate to admit it, she could be a bit stubborn at times most of the time all the time. Okay, let's not get into semantics. The point is that i love her, but she developed a complex that makes her constantly want to prove that she can do things on her own, way before we even (re-)met. And, that's fine, I'm cool with that. On top of that though, she also has this thing where she doesn't want to be a bother to anybody. That's great as well, very considerate of her. However, when these two things combine and clash against my own personality of wanting to help out whenever I can...


panorama

You know something wild happened when this fantastical adventure story that pits two people against a squad of paranormal creatures pales in comparison. So, let me set the scene. We just came back from Universal Studios, and @randomli's flight was fast approaching (she flew home 19 hours earlier because of work-related reasons) It had been a few days now ever since we started discussing back and forth whether or not I would accompany her to the airport. She didn't want me to, because (of course) she didn't want to be a bother, and instead told me to chill and have fun. Woman, how could I chill if I don't know that you're safe!? I really don't know why I couldn't drill that to her head. Oh wait, she's stubborn. Gotcha!

The discussion spilled over until the very last minute. Even as I was carrying her luggage while running up an escalator (something she could never do), she kept telling me that she could do it on her own. We were stuck in the middle of rush hour, and the trains were few and far in between. Mind you, it was 30 minutes before the boarding time and we were, at best, 30 minutes away from the airport. As soon as we hit the airport, we ran like we were close to getting eliminated in the latest season of Amazing Race: Changi. We were discussing worst-case scenarios, while I was praying to Odin for our luck to turn. Thankfully, she was able to check-in her baggage right before it was about to close. Talk about a harrowing tale!

I wrote this story on my long train ride back to reunite with my family. Personally, I'll take on a gigantic naga and a titanic merlion any day than having to repeat that whole ordeal.


SINGA-FOUR!


The Foreigner


Threw you off with the rhyming titles, huh? (☞ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)☞ kachow kachow

I had intended for readers to question it after the third installment, but @ryivhnn beat everyone to it, noting the rhyming titles after the second one. In my quest to keep things fresh, I changed the fourth installment's title to not make it rhyme. The original title was something something More haha! Always so perceptive, mate! For that, you do deserve an upgoat!


upgoat

Cute, huh? For even more kawaii artwork, check out @ryivhnn's stuff and make sure to show some love by giving her a follow, voting on her work or even by just leaving her a comment. Don't think I didn't notice the resteems :D Supremely thankful about that, by the way. She's one of the most fantastic commenters on here, and trust me when I say you'll have a blast interacting with her. You're asking yourself, why does her work look so familiar? Well, that's because she was the arbiter for the recently concluded Steem Wars that happened a while back.

After the adrenaline-fueled installment that was SINGA-THREE, I wanted readers to take a bit of a breather and just chill with this one. A simple tale about a simple man, simply taking a tour of an entire country via MRT. What isn't simple about that? Consider this my love letter to the SMRT. I loved riding the MRT. It's such a far cry from the MRT we have in the Philippines. A real showstopper, if there ever was one. I couldn't imagine how I would ever follow this story up...


SINGA...FIVE?


(Wait, that doesn't sound right)

BONUS STORY!!!


The Hawker


I did say that there was just one more, right? Come on guys. I never said that SINGA-FOUR was that last one haha! Okay, you got me, I just intended to write four, because, you know, SINGA...FOUR. Yeah, you get it.

@improv's 5-Minute FreeWrite was my inspiration for this, so it was just a quick flash fiction. By quick, I do mean that I wrote this exactly within the 5 minute restriction. If it seemed rushed or unfinished, good eye, because it totally was. It was way harder than I thought, especially when you see the time ticking down. When you think about it, it's freestyle rap combined with fiction. It's a totally "why didn't I think of that?"-type of thing. So, I'm just glad that somebody did think of it, and now I'm able to add my own entry. Write your own as well, and feel free to comment the link to that post to any of my posts. Also, follow @improv for more hilarity, he's an awesome commenter as well! Maybe it comes with the name.

I wanted to write a sidestory that didn't interfere with the other stories I've written previously. The diversity of the stories is what I took special attention to, so I wanted to preserve that without taking too much from it. Sci-Fi/Dystopian Future, check (SINGA-ONE). Modern day Mystery/Philosophical Thought Piece, check (SINGA-TWO). Action/Adventure/Romance/Fantasy/little bit of Horror, check (SINGA-THREE). Straight up story, full of descriptions, with an intriguing twist, check (SINGA-FOUR). So, what was there left to write? I thought a parable of sorts would be a good choice.

As I mentioned earlier, I love playing with words, so I definitely had a blast twisting this one. Before Singapore, all I could think about whenever I hear the word "hawker" is either a bird trainer/falconer or someone who peddles stuff on the side of the road. Those definitely came into play when I thought about this story. During our first breakfast, we ate at a nearby hawker centre, and I couldn't help but notice that there were more birds there than people. With all the droppings all around, I thought that rats weren't far off from unusual. It was alright though, the food tasted great!

I couldn't help but notice, almost all of my stories' titles begin with "The." Perhaps it was a subconscious choice, or perhaps starting a title with "The" is the easiest choice. In any case, if you enjoyed reading this behind the scenes look at what inspired my recent travel fiction, check out @naquoya's latest series Notes from an Amateur Writer. He's been brewing up tons of great stories there, and if you're a fan of fiction, it's something you should definitely not miss. Give him a follow, and show some love in the comments section. He's yet another great commenter, who has lots of insights for whatever your content may be.



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(Keywords: dont, love, feel, write, day, check, im, mouth, youre, gigantic, singapore, merlion, thought)

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I, uh, hmm... I think you need to work on your semantic analysis @suggestionbot haha Valiant effort though! Much appreciated :)

I seemed to have missed a couple of your posts, I am horrified to say. Not sure how that happened, but it allows me to ask you what I have been meaning to - what auto vote service do you use? I need to line that up so I can at least still give my votes where they deserve to go, and follow up with comments. Man I'm really sorry about that. At least when you reply to the comment I can make up a bit with a 100% vote. Not the same I know.

Now onto the post, which is great. I've never been to Singapore. I've always wanted to. Breaking down the trip into the story segments was neat, like filling in details and how you came to create your ideas.

And very cool to put faces to the names (I did see you Anniversary post also), so it's like second greetings (and to your fiance).

Now I'm off to pay penance for my sin of failing my key supporter :)

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It's alright, mate. No worries about it :) Whatever happened, I'm just happy you were able to catch up on them. In the end, I think it's all that matters, voted on or not :D What made you read through the past posts if I may ask?

I use Steemvoter for the autovotes. Since I only have a few key people I autovote on, there's no problem cranking it up to 100%. That way, all of you are ensured the top half of whatever vote I can provide haha I go through the same list of people every day to check if I missed reading and commenting on a post, so at worst I get delayed by 2 days haha

I was actually supposed to put up my monthly post today but decided to hold off since there wasn't much progress in terms of wedding preps. Since I already wrote SINGA-THREE I guess, in a way, that counts for this month.

I appreciate you catching up on this and commenting, mate. No penance necessary. For me (a perpetually tardy person), it's always better late than never :D

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I was checking your page, not sure why, just felt like I had missed something. Sounds nebulous and mysterious I know, but that what prompted it. But I assumed if I missed something it was from the past 24 hours or so. Then I saw one going back a few days.

I will have a look at Steemvoter. I was using another service prior to my break but you have to leave the browser open all the time (and there the laptop also) and I found that it was crashing when I wasn't around which meant no votes were being placed.

All the best with the wedding preps. Can I ask - has a date been set? Maybe you mentioned that in your post already, I just can't recall.

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Haha! I totally get that, mate. I do the same thing. There's that nagging feeling like I missed a post somewhere. Definitely understandable. I wish Steemit would have a Read/Unread flag for easier spotting of those sneaky posts.

Thanks, mate! Yes, the wedding is on March, and I haven't officially announced it here because we haven't sent out Save the Dates haha! Preps are coming along well. Only a few more suppliers left. (only little money left as well >.<)

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Steemits notifications don't seem to work. So I have no idea if I get mentioned. And being able to categorise the people we are following would be great. List them or something, to allow for much easier finding and checking on anything missed.

Weddings aren't cheap. Hopefully your Steemit experience will help in some capacity. Sent a little something to help with preps. Not much but it's a pre-official announcement gift. :)

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Yeah, the notifications and segregation do need some work. The site's still in beta, so that's a great excuse haha!

I saw it, and have replied to a different comment of yours regarding it. THANK YOU, my friend! That's already huge for me, no matter the amount. It would really go a long way! I appreciate it, and the gesture won't ever be forgotten :D

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It should say FOREVER BETA. I did forget that, so thats explains part of it I suppose. After I mentioned that I don't get notification I started getting them again. Spooky! Just not when I am mentioned.

Yes thanks for the Randowhale vote, much appreciated. And very happy to help towards some of the costs. I know its not a huge amount, but hopefully helps with the bills.

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HAHA! I was thinking of the same thing a few months back. I mean, nobody but the development team dictates when they're out of BETA, so they could hypothetically stretch this on forever, or until they feel like it's worthy to be called version 1. No worries about the randowhale vote, you do the same for me. Plus, I've been trying to do that for a while now, but you always kept beating me to the punch haha!

Okay, so that was a really cool silver lining, and I KNEW IT< I TOTALLY KNEW IT! What did I know? I knew that Leo and Jeannie were based on you and @randomli, I just couldn't say it on the comments on the off chance I was wrong, but also in case you didn't want to make a point of it and make her mad, hahaha!! I was actually planning to ask you this in chat, but...yeah this, lol.

You two are the cutest by the way. Someday huge hugs are in order, can't wait ;)

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but also in case you didn't want to make a point of it and make her mad, hahaha!!

This was always a possibility! Hahaha! She was really annoyed when I kept "haranguing" her about it, but she admitted that she enjoyed the story. So, whew! :D

If we're not able to meet in the coming months, I do hope that we have a tiny Jed/Lianne hybrid in tow with us when we do get to meet so you can share the tightest hug to that little bugger :D

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Ohhh, a tiny Jed/Lianne, oh my goodness, I can picture this little being and they are adorable! You'll all get hugs!

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I can't wait to get that project under way haha! In the meantime, the wedding quest will keep us busy for more than half a year.

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Oh yeah, weddings are a lot of planning. Though I was fortunate that my mom was all gung ho into the planning and I could mostly sit back and relax, just point at flowers and stuff I liked, lol!

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Haha! Aww Mama Dreemit! So adorable with every story :D

Since I don't have tons of SP, a sexy body, a pleasing face or whatever aesthetic quality that attracts upvotes

Oh yeh I know them feels XD I'd find you attractive but perhaps I'm not the best judge of anything as beyond being able to recognise them again I tend not to notice what people look like, it's their ideas I like XP

You and @randomli are ridiculously adorable.

I'm sorry I wrecked your surprise again and broke your groove I'll just shut up next time LoL XD

Oh man rushing to get to the flight on time :O that would have been rather harrowing, yeh I think dealing with naga and oversized merlion would definitely be easier. I didn't realise merlions got that big, for whatever reason I always imagined them as being walrus/elephant seal sized, or possibly orca at a stretch.

On top of that though, she also has this thing where she doesn't want to be a bother to anybody

I totally get that, I'm the same! It took a bloody long time to accept the fact that I had family and friends who actually wanted to help never mind the help itself XD Usually I am the helpER not the helpEE XD

Ahh thanks for the promo ack so many nice things said I'm not worthy! XD [hides in slugskin] I don't think that many people saw my steemwars sketchies for anything to be recognisable, plus the steemwars sketchies were pretty rough. Also kawaaaaiiiiiiiiii is not my usual style I'm going to disappoint people if that's what they're following me for [stays hiding in slugskin]

The stories were good even if they did all start with "the" (which I didn't really notice as that's one word I drop possibly a bit too frequently).

You seem to have had a good holiday (cost stress and Amazing Race: Changi aside XD) at any rate :D

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You and @randomli are ridiculously adorable.

Thank you, mate! Comments like these come few and far in between, so I really do appreciate them when they come :D

Feel free to wreck my surprises any time haha! It's good, it keeps me on my toes :D I don't want to be predictable or stagnant, so having a great check-and-balance is healthy :D

You know, I was lucky to have stumbled upon that merlion artwork. I thought merlions weren't that big as well, but I had already written it as such, so I scrambled to find one. Didn't take me long haha!

It took a bloody long time to accept the fact that I had family and friends who actually wanted to help never mind the help itself

What was the trigger?? Tell meeeeeee!! I need to know for my sanity hahaha!

The promo is warranted, mate :D If I could, I would shoutout to all my Steemit friends every time. But, I don't want to over-saturate it. I want the promos to pop out, so I reserve them for posts like this.

Kawaii is subjective, I think (?) I guess it depends on taste. What's kawaii for me may not be exactly kawaii for others haha! So, I used it as a blanket term to refer to anything aesthetically pleasing to look at :D

"The" is an example of over-saturation. We're so used to seeing it that it's now almost invisible because we expect it to be there haha!

Everything was a great experience, even the stress and walking on glass shards feel (yes, I'm Meera :O ) It was that type of vacation that I didn't think I needed haha Thanks for supporting the mini-series however brief it might've been, my friend! :D

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In my case it was having kids XP Ideally she'll come round well before then XD

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One would hope! Though, I wouldn't mind if our future kids would be the reason for her change though :D

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Kids can be a pretty intense relationship stress tester, you'll both need backup in the firm of supportive family/ community when they come along. Even if you have really easy babies and i hope you have really easy babies and kids 😄

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If they take after @randomli, then the kids would be easy to manage. But, if they take after me, well, let's just say that we're going to need reinforcements. Gulp.

I can't believe I haven't found you before now. I'm kind of in awe of what you've done with this post. You get my 100% upvote, my follow, my undying admiration, and a glowing mention in Best of Steemit. Thank you.

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I have just left my comment there and have heartily resteemed your post! I totally feel undeserving, but I am truly appreciative of the honor you bestowed upon me. Thank you, man! I feel like a thousand thank-yous wouldn't be enough haha!

I really wish we stumbled upon each other way sooner, especially when I was in the midst of writing my Steemit-exclusive novel haha! You know, I have this nagging feeling like I've commented on a post of yours before, and I'm trying to look for it but I can't seem to find it. Perhaps it's one that @ryivhnn resteemed, but I'm not sure. In any case, looking forward to interacting more from this point forward :D

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Absolutely. And I can dig up your novel and read it. You can bet I will. Going forward, I'll be following closely. Thanks for taking the time.

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I'll be looking out for your work as well :D Looking forward to interacting more in the future, for sure!

If you do manage to get around to reading it, please feel free to leave your thoughts wherever. I'm very interested to hear what you think about it. I hope it lives up to the lofty expectations that was set!

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Roger that. I try to comment on everything I read, at least something.

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That's good to hear. I actually do the same thing :)

Yikes man! I totally didn't get that there was a series. My bad for not noticing and checking in on your profile!! I will endeavour to read these other bad boys today, might be later on as I am at work but I tells ya. I am a man of my word!!

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No worries. I'm used to it. Hmph.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hahaha! No worries, dude! I did sneak this in as a surprise. Still can't shake that behavior for some reason. Let me know what you think of them as you read along. I hope that it was worth the wait :)

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Aw man, good use of the white space. As I scrolled down I thought oh no, I have genuinely caused offense!!!

I will indeed dude! I like to read them undisturbed and unrushed so during the day is out :0)

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My stories always wait patiently for your careful perusal, dude! I have taught them that much ;D Looking forward to reading about your thoughts!

I loved reading the back stories behind each one.
Damn, it's getting late. Gotta go do some actual work and come back to the rest of your stories later.

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It was the last one of the series! I only have one more additional post after it, and it's super short as well. Pat yourself in the back, because you completed a tour of Singapura haha! :D I appreciate you taking the time to complete it, my friend! Warms my heart to no end :'D

I just commented that you could read this not know that you already commented on it. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. It was kind of like SILVER LINING, wasn't it? Man, I miss writing that sometimes haha!

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You betcha! I hope you get the chance to read the individual stories :D

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I had wanted for this to show up in my anniversary post haha oh well! Thank you for the badge of honor :D