Looking for the right umbrella

The river runneth over

We're having one of the fiercest monsoon seasons ever this year, which means that one doesn't leave home without a sturdy umbrella, unless one has made handsome libations to the rain deity or enjoys flipping a coin between the options of being trapped in a building by an unexpected rainstorm or taking an outdoor shower of the extremely unsexy kind.

My collapsible umbrella's served me well for a couple of years, but one of its metal arms snapped out of position a while back and another one was threatening to do the same this week. So I thought: perfect, now I can go shopping for that perfect collapsible yet stout umbrella that I've always wanted. I know such a species exists because I had one of its kind for four years in the States and it was to my eternal chagrin that I didn't make space to ship it back in one of my boxes. Foolish me, thinking that it would have been easy to find an umbrella of equal durability in the little cosmopolitan and technologically-savvy crossroads of Asia that I was going home to.

Who knew that almost ten years on, it's still tough to find a strong collapsible umbrella in these parts? Robinson's and Marks & Spencer, for all the other fine household items they sell, do not seem to carry umbrellas, or at least I couldn't find them, at their Raffles City outlets. I was forced to consider the feeble options at the basement Cold Storage supermarket instead, where just under $4 bought me a not-too-auntie-despite-the-floral-print umbrella --- that lasted exactly two uses before one of its rods parted ways with the umbrella fabric.


In the end, it was back to my old faithful neighbourhood provision shop, which for $5 has given me a chequered print umbrella that snaps stoutly into place (despite being a collapsible model) and has a reassuring heft to it even as it's being extended to full length. It still doesn't feel as solid as the one I had in the US, or perhaps I'm just idealising that memory, but I think it'll do me all right in the current situation. If nothing else, I quite like the somewhat retro chequered print.

Now if only I had a place to dry my umbrella without worrying that the cat would get at it ...


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At 12/29/2006 5:12 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi tym, i got a made-in-japan brolly at bugis junction and it served me well for more than 5 years before it was stolen very recently. however it was quite pricey about $20.

At 12/29/2006 11:37 am , Blogger strangemessages said...

The Giordano ones are pretty sturdy. They cost $6 on rainy days, and $12 on sunny days.

At 12/30/2006 7:37 am , Blogger beAr said...

yes it's amazing how difficult it is to find a good foldable umbrella in singapore, no? throw in affordability and style and you'd have a near-impossible task.

i've myself been trying to find a sturdy, stylish and affordable foldable umbrella for the longest time (i.e. 2 years), but to no avail. then i saw my dream brolly on old compton in london a few months ago. i nearly died when i realised i didn't have enough money to buy it since it was my last day in london and i'd almost exhausted all my pounds! hell i'm still kicking myself to this day...

At 12/30/2006 11:44 am , Blogger Tym said...

Anonymous > Yes, that's exactly what I had in mind. Next time I will consult the Japanese department stores instead of the local ones.

strangemessages > But they don't come in collapsible versions, do they?

beAr > Have someone in London ship it back for you ;) It seems like it'll be well worth it!

At 12/30/2006 1:23 pm , Blogger ampulets said...

hey, coincidence - i bought a new foldable brolly today too :> they were having a discount at Taka. it was a tough choice between a light grey one with white polka dots and one with blue squares like the inside of a notebook.


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