Sarah J. Carlson

Contemporary Young Adult Author

Tag Archives: Singapore

Pics from the Land of the Merlion: Some of my favorite Singapore shots from the last few months


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Hey writer friends, anyone need inspiration for writing a horror novel? Check out my pics from the Ten Courts of Hell, Haw Par Villa, Singapore (warning…these plastic figures actually look pretty gross)


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Haw Par Villa was constructed by the inventors of Tiger Balm as a place to teach traditional Chinese values. By the way, punishment for disobeying your elders in Yama, the third court of hell, lorded over by King Songdi? Heart cut out.

Also, there was this….


On being the token Yank, an introduction



Image from though apparently the website got hacked.

(Holy crap that eagle is scary. Don’t mess with America or he’ll eat your soul! Seriously though, I’m a nice American, not a scary one)

My Husband: So I just got offered a position in Singapore. What do you think?

Me: Um…is that by China somewhere?

No, no it is not. Well, I mean kind of it is, I guess. Relatively speaking….

Anyway, many steps later, we’re living in the tiny island nation of Singapore (see map below). A few quick boring demographic notes about Singapore: 74% Chinese, 13% Malay, 9% Indian. There is also a sizable population of Westerners here as well, mostly brought in by companies to do specific jobs, and a large number of foreign domestic workers and foreign workers here to do construction jobs. Most people speak English (mostly the British variety, but mixed with American vocab) or Singlish (a mix of a variety of dialects including English, Hokkien, Tamil, Malay, and Cantonese).


Over here in Singapore I just don’t know many Americans, even though I’m sure there are plenty. I hang out mostly with English, Scottish, Australians and a few locals who also speak the British variety of English. Weird, right? Travel to the other side of the world to hang out with people from a different side of the world. It’s amazing how similar we seem when surrounded by Asians haha.

Anyway, being surrounded by people who are NOT Americans has taught me quite a lot about the United States. I was over here during the government shutdown. Try explaining that fiasco! Um, no actually President Obama can’t just restart the government…  It’s also helped with my writing tremendously. Stay tuned for all my random musings and observations on the topic.!

Next post topic: Things my British friends say that I wish I could

Have you ever experienced being the token______? What were some of the things that really struck you?

Graffiti hunting in Singapore, land of the Merlion



(Taken near Arab Street, Singapore)

A just question and very fitting for this blog post!

When I told people back in Wisconsin that my husband and I were renting out our house, I was quitting my job, and we were moving to Singapore, I usually got some variation on these four questions:

1)  Is that is China? No, it’s off the tip of Malaysia but most of the country is ethnically Chinese so half a gold star.

2)  Why? Most people thought we were kind of crazy for completely uprooting our lives and moving across the world, especially since I’d never even been to Singapore. Okay, so it actually does sound kind of crazy but YOLO, right? Ew, that’s so 8 months ago, so I’ll go with carpe diem instead.

3)  You can’t chew gum there right? This is true. No gum allowed!

4)  Isn’t that where those American guys got caned for spraying graffiti? Yes, yes it is.

The Singapore government likes to keep things both safe and clean and they succeed at both. I walk around at 3 a.m. by myself with no fear. So anyway, when I discover graffiti in Singapore, I’m intrigued. Here are a few examples (apologies for the bad language; I swear I did not graffiti it!).


This one’s so elaborate I can’t help but wonder if it was commissioned and therefore not true graffiti.Image

That is NOT AT ALL a Singaporean way of thinking!  School is life in Singapore and test scores are everything.Image.

I’ll share more as I find it!

Good morning, Singapore!


ImageIt’s 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday.  Why am I up at dawn?  I’m squeezing in a morning run before 90 degree heat coupled with 90% humidity strikes here on the equatorial tropical island concrete jungle of Singapore. I get some of my best inspirations for thickening plot, fleshing out characters, and enhancing settings while I’m running and NOT thinking about my novel.  Not kidding, I often stop several times to write my random thoughts in my notepad app.  What do you do to get your creative juices running?