Gooner On The Road Visits Singapore

Avid Arsenal fan and writer, Peter Anderson, 29, has been backpacking around the world (since the beginning of the current Barclays Premier League season) to raise funds for the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation. But Peter has never failed to miss an Arsenal football game even when he is globetrotting. Click here to find out how.

Peter Anderson aka Gooner on the Road, watching the Arsenal v Man U game at Molly Roffey's Irish Pub.

Peter Anderson aka Gooner on the Road (right, in yellow), watching the Arsenal v Man U game at Molly Roffey’s Irish Pub.

Peter’s travels have brought him now to Singapore, where he caught the live Arsenal v Man United game (3.45am this morning) at Molly Roffey’s Irish Pub – home to the Arsenal FC supporters club in Singapore.

I caught up with Peter, aka Gooner of the Road, at the early game this morning. What does the Gooner think of the frustrating draw, the local Arsenal fans and Singapore? Read on to find out.

What do you think of the Arsenal v Man United draw (0-0) this morning?

The one thing I am happy about is that we (Arsenal) responded really well today, to the disappointment last weekend.

I know a lot of people would look at it as a big disappointment, because there were three points up for grabs and we only managed to get one. But we responded well to United’s defensive play this morning.

Singaporean Gooners are watching the game intently.

Singaporean Gooners are watching the game intently.

I think the biggest concern for me more than anything else was that the result at the weekend could have been the start of something really bad – the implosion of Arsenal’s season, but that’s not the case because we are only one point from the top. If we play against every other team just like how we played against United, we are going to have a positive end to the season.

I think we will have an interesting tie against Liverpool in the FA Cup as well, this weekend.

How do you find the Singaporean Arsenal fans?

Yeah, they are really enthusiastic, just like other Arsenal fans around the world. They are really happy to support the club – no different to anywhere else.

What do you think of the early morning kick-off times here?

The kick-off times are crazy but I experienced that in Australia and the West Coast of the USA as well – where 4.45am kick-offs are apparent. Obviously in Singapore, having a 3.45am kick-off is one of the most difficult things, because you don’t know whether to sleep late or sleep early and get up to see the game. Also you don’t know whether to order a cappuccino or beer at the game!

Marina Bay Sands, a prominent landmark of the Singapore city centre, which Peter may visit

Marina Bay Sands, a prominent landmark of the Singapore city centre, which Peter may visit

For me though, I deliberately woke up late yesterday morning. I had a nice long lie-in and had brunch. Then I had a nap, woke up for dinner, had some coffee and here I am watching the game.

How do you find Singapore?

I haven’t been into the city centre yet, because I am staying in the East with one of the local Arsenal fans. So I can’t say too much about Singapore as a whole, but I have been told that Singapore’s hawker food is great. I have tried that and it really is good.

I have just come back from Hong Kong – my first stop in Asia. I have never been to Asia before. So Hong Kong was a great insight into Asian culture, but it felt really foreign and it makes you feel insecure. Singapore has that Western feel though, with a good balance between East and West.

The Singapore weather is amazing too – it’s so hot here!

Peter hopes to be able to successfully order a cup of local coffee before he leaves Singapore

Peter hopes to be able to successfully order a cup of local coffee before he leaves Singapore

What is your favourite hawker food so far?

I really enjoyed my first oyster omelette and I thought that it was really good – I loved it.

Some other memorable dishes include the fish ball soup with noodles, the soya bean dessert and the coffee.

The local coffee is really good but so far, I still haven’t managed to get my order right. I hope that by the time I leave Singapore next week, I will get ordering local coffee down to an art! I actually have an app (for ordering local coffee) on my iPhone but I heard that it doesn’t work properly. That’s why when I use the app to buy coffee, the order comes back completely wrong!

Do you find any differences in Asian and Western cultures?

Yeah there is definitely a difference. I have been in Asia for only eight days though, so it is hard to put too much on it.

But what I have noticed is that Hong Kong guys are very subdued, but because I am an Arsenal fan, there has not been a culture clash because I have had a good excuse to integrate myself into the society and it has worked. But I am going to Indonesia next week and I will be in Vietnam in April and I think that is where the culture shock is really going to kick in.

The Supertrees at the Gardens by the Bay, which Peter may visit during his Singapore stay.

The Supertrees at the Gardens by the Bay, which Peter may visit during his Singapore stay.

You mentioned earlier that Singapore has a more Western feel. Why is this so?

I think that it’s to do with the people more than anything else – there are more expats here. When I was in Hong Kong, I felt that it was really foreign. That isn’t a bad thing, but I feel that Singapore is more tailored towards international visitors. But I have only seen a little bit of Singapore and have not ventured into the city, so I don’t really know for sure.

Which parts of Singapore are you keen on visiting before you leave?

I have a limited amount of time and funds available, so I am not going to be able to do everything. But I would really love to do the Night Safari because people say that it is good for the wildlife.

The majestic Singapore Flyer, another tourist attraction Peter is interested in visiting.

The majestic Singapore Flyer, another tourist attraction Peter is interested in visiting.

I’ll also like to go on the Singapore Flyer. For Gardens by the Bay, a lot of people say that it is like the Botanic Gardens and is just like a big tourist attraction so I don’t really know.

But that said, considering that it is free of charge to just walk through the Gardens by the Bay (without going into the Cloud Forest and the Flower Domes), I may do so – if I have the time.

When do you leave Singapore?

That would be after that Liverpool FA Cup game. The fixture is Sunday midnight. So I am leaving for Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday. I will be there for the Bayern Munich and Sunderland matches.

I don’t know if I will be back in Singapore, but it may be for the Stoke game at the beginning of March.

If you missed seeing Peter this morning, you can still catch him at the Liverpool FA Cup game this coming weekend. The game will be screened this Sunday, 11.55pm  at the Molly Roffey’s Irish Pub in Bras Basah.

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