Thursday, June 24, 2010

New York Invasion Pt 4 - Survival

Somewhere in Sun Tzi’s Art of War, there has to be a line that says, “If you wanna go to New York, then you better go in prepared, or die”, well if it isn’t then he obviously forgot to write it in because it’s as important as nuclear warheads is to North Korea.

I usually would save a survival guide for Rhythm Magazine, but I’m going to make an exception and save the lives of people who are going to be travelling 18 hours to a city that is not going to give you a refund or a decent laksa.

1. Bring a kettle

For some reason – unknown to the great minds of society and Nissin Corporation – hotels in New York do not provide you with a kettle. And we know that a kettle is paramount when cup noodles are supposed to be a staple diet for everyone.

There was nothing more torturous than having my cup noodles mock me from my table and knowing that I was never going to eat them unless I called for room service to bring me hot water, which will never be hot enough and it’s just blasphemous to have warm water in cup noodles. It’s like settling for a hand job from a buffalo.

We need hot water, you might not know it yet, but you do, because it’s also handy for sterilizing underwear if you need them for prolong periods of time. If you think a kettle is too bulky, then get a blowtorch, a Petri dish, magnifying glass or a socket that is capable of blowing a fuse and starting a fire. Don’t think, just pack it.

2. A Universal Plug

If you don’t already know, the United States has a history of non-conformance as seen with their continued practice to drive on the opposite side of the road and disregard for the metric system. As such, you can expect that your plugs are not going to fit into their sockets, much like how most Asian things would not fit nicely into theirs.

Electricity is one of man's most basic needs, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. We need it to keep our laptops charged and our iPhone's with enough battery to last a day, without either it would truly be a pointless day.

3. Insurance

There are times where we should never challenge consequences nor leave fate a chance to screw us over. Health care in the US is such a serious issue, I will not even attempt to make fun of it. The medical bills can amount to grossly insane numbers that you would think it comes with either a free blowjob or a Mercedes.

You can be admitted to hospital for a stomachache and by them time your bill comes to you, you’d be leaving the hospital with one kidney less because you have to pawn it. Don’t be cheap and get one, this is the only time an insurance might actually save your ass – literally.

4. Bullet Proof Vest

I know Manhattan is all about Jimmy Choos, Dior sunglasses and Burberry overcoats but did you also know that New York is a great place to put on your Kevlar vest that will save you from bullets and unexplained stabbings, although not from ridicule, punches to the face and dog bites.

It’s fine in Manhattan in general, but it’s a required item, like condoms, mace and a valid driving license, if you travel to the Bronx or Brooklyn at night. I didn’t make this shit up because people joke about it all the time in New York and they joke about Paris Hilton being a whore as well, and look how that turned out.

Everyday there is a news report that says, “Another Teen dies from gunshot” and you’d think that schools should have started giving out free bulletproof vest instead of milk by now. Sure, it’s going to be bulky, make you look overweight but nothing beats getting up from a drive by shooting and shouting,

It works!”

5. Basic Brains To Read Maps

The great thing about New York City is that they work on a grid system, so it’s pretty hard to get lost if you can count. The tricky part is figuring out which side of the subway you need to be on and most importantly, where the subway entrance is.

It’s so obscurely tucked in the shadow of the city’s impressive structures that I wonder why it’s never occurred to the authorities to make a more prominent sign indicating the subway entrance. It takes a keen eye and a lot of luck finding one, just like trying to find a Jew in Anne Frank’s house.

6. Buskers

It’s always good to be cheap at the appropriate moments, so before you start crowding around to watch a street performer execute his/their less than stellar prowess in the realms of entertainment, be it lighting a painting on fire, breakdancing or strumming a guitar in their underwear, remember, never to stay till the end.

I’ve not seen a street busker that has been remotely impressive to say the least. And when everyone round starts applauding for a simple forward flip, it felt like it was a celebration of mediocracy and it’s not even time for the Paralympics yet.

Pick your acts, don’t be coerced into throwing in a dollar just because you think effort deserves to be rewarded. Remember, giving people who are clearly unequal, equal chances is called communism. We are allowed to be cheap, it’s part of being Singaporean. I love it.

It’s a concrete jungle out here in New York, but we are from Singapore, so nobody probably sees more bricks than us. There really is nothing to fear as long as you keep to one simple rule.

When there is danger, run.”

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