Bargain Toy Bin

People tell me Singapore isn’t the bargain mecca it once was, but in my short time I’ve found that some deals can still be had here. The exchange rate is favorable to Americans, with every U.S. dollar buying about SG$1.72. That can make it tough to keep from reaching for your wallet while wandering the city’ interminable shopping arcades. For a week, I was doing an admirable job. I’ve been frugal, purchasing only what I’ll need in the short term while stocking up on goods for my new apartment.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F505!

A bargain is a bargain, however, and today I came across a real whopper: a brand new digital camera selling for roughly half of its U.S. list price. Granted, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F505 is on its way to being discontinued back home. Here in Singapore, its 2.1 megapixel specification has long since been succeeded by the newer, brawnier, generally more manly Cyber-shot DSC-F505v (note the "v" please!) which features a full megapixel of additional resolution. So the model I came across was discounted because it’s officially outdated. At half the price, I can live with that.

What this means to you: pictures! I’ve been long debating whether I should actually pay the hefty price of a digital still camera in order to be able to readily illustrate these entries. My report from Sydney, for instance, felt poorer for its lack of supporting imagery. And as I begin to document more of Singapore, having the ability to showcase sights and spectacles will be a tremendous help.

“A bargain is a bargain. Reach for your wallet.”

While I do own a point-and-click 35 mm film camera, its procedural depth is a major psychological deterrent to snapping away happily in the name of a personal journal. I can’t abide misplaced cartridges of film, the mechanical whir of advancing film, the ritual of dropping off film for development, or (more elaborately) developing film in one’s bathroom whilst a tea pot is boiling in the kitchen. Once I finally have the photos in hand, I’ve still got to scan it into my computer before it ever has a chance of making it to the Web. Too much film, too many obstacles to expression.

This camera allows me to shoot, transfer Sony’s proprietary and gimmicky Memory Stick media to my laptop, and almost instantaneously be able to manipulate the image in Adobe Photoshop. No film, very few obstacles to expression.

This illustrates something fundamental about me: I despise handling atoms whenever possible. If it can be done digitally, that’s the way I prefer it done. The irony is, in pursuit of this lifestyle, I’ve accumulated a mess of digital-enabling atoms in the form of various hardware gadgets, only the latest of which is my new F505. You can see a sampling of these in one of the first photographs I took. I readily acknowledge that my allegiance to living digitally is probably a convenient excuse to acquire new, shiny toys at my leisure. Until I took this picture of my living room and began to enumerate its contents — a laptop and a proliferation of computer peripherals, a PDA, a speaker system, a remote control for my air conditioning unit (!?!) — I’d nearly forgotten how ridiculously boyish in nature are my personal possessions. Okay, I have this weekend to clean this place up and maybe I can make it look like something more than a geek’s bedroom. I wonder if there’s a Bed, Bath & Beyond in Singapore?