Tuesday, October 25, 2016

When I Come Back to Singapore One Day


Singapore at dusk

When I come back to Singapore one day, I don't want to stay in a fancy hotel or go shopping on Orchard Road.
What I really want to do is walk down the back street from my apartment to the grocery store early in the morning, right before the humidity rises from the sidewalk. I want to pass by the old man who waters the plants and says: "Hello girl." I want to go to the hairdresser where the owner never fails to greet me with a disapproving look: "Long time not beautiful already."
I want to walk outside thinking it will be cold because I am leaving a freezing cafe where Christmas music is playing but immediately be enveloped by waves of heat instead.
I want to eat kimchi and laksa and masala dhosai and dumplings at any time of the day without ever worrying about opening hours or whether it's lunch or dinner time.
I want to hear someone ask: "Is it?" when I say something they find surprising and know that it's a statement and not a question. I want to walk carefully, dodging lighted candles and random treats on the curb during Hungry Ghost season. I want to hand out oranges and red packets on Chinese New Year. I want to be offered a tiny little mooncake that looks like a jewel and still fail to fully appreciate the appeal.
I want to buy manga comics, jade charms, and tins of yu yee oil all from the same store.
I want to talk about the haze from Indonesia and the rate of construction work with a taxi driver. I want to hear him complain that young people complain too much. I want to hear jokes I don't quite get from the popular deejays on the radio station. I want to see the sun rise and set at the same hour every day of the year like clockwork. I never want to wear socks and I want linen to always be in season.
However, if my husband chooses to stay in a fancy hotel or go shopping on Orchard Road, I will naturally just grin and bear it.


14 comments:

  1. 100% agreed. It's the little things that matter...

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  2. Yay for Singapore!

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  3. Replies
    1. Thank you! Glad to hear you you liked it.

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  4. Good writing! It's amazing to me that I can still feel the same things with you and actually write something completely different, but similar about each of the places I have lived and loved. I think the take away (for me) is to be aware to the sights, sounds, smells and sensations and to appreciate them as I go about my daily life. Thanks for the reminder. I forget!

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    1. Thank you for the kind and insightful feedback! Appreciate that.

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  5. You've truly captured the everlasting images of Singapore and you didn't need a camera.

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  6. I have only been gone for 5 months and miss it. This made me smile. Thanks!

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  7. I visited Singapore for 7 precious days last year... in that short time it left an indelible impression on me, and on almost a daily basis I can hear it calling me back...

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  8. Absolutely love reading this as a Singaporean. Hope you will return soon for a vacation! ;-)

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    1. Thank you for writing in. That's great to hear. I still live here...just thinking ahead :)

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