I go to the gym every day, and I have, for the last four years, been changing straight into workout gear from my pyjamas each morning at 6 am. I try not to tell too many people this, in case I jinx the routine. I used to run before work, and then secretly gloat that I had accomplished more than the people around me at 7.15 am during the morning assembly. I type this now on an elliptical machine at a fancy gym across the road from my office. It’s so fancy that its management had decided that it is a ‘platinum’ club, by virtue of the fact that it has a heated pool — an oddity in tropical Singapore. I try to swim 10 laps in the 400 m pool, which has been constructed as an ‘infinity pool’: the water slips off the ledge into a small drain, making it seem that there is no edge. Possibly the first such pool was built at the top of Marina Bay Sands, allowing swimmers (if you could call those who soak in the pool and drink cocktails swimmers) to take photos of themselves in the water, with the whole of Singapore behind them. Well, not the whole of Singapore as such — just the business district that we want people to see.
Last week, I was in Arizona when someone asked me about the weather in Singapore. “A perpetual summer,” I tell him. “Everyone goes around in T-shirt and shorts.” He looked a bit stunned at that. Later on, I mention to someone who was talking about her boots that I didn’t own a single pair. “Really?” she seemed genuinely puzzled at how anyone can survive without boots. “I have several pairs of slippers though,” I offer.