The Singapore I love

My BFF guy friend met me for tea today.  We don’t meet often, we don’t even talk that regularly.  And yet, as ever, I had such a wonderful time.  I can talk to him about everything, and I do.  Childhood is a tree, once shared with the precious few, the roots dig so deep.

IMG_3724 (photo credit- Jon Chan, Naoshima Island)

We have known each other for 30 years.  What’s it like to be at midlife, I asked him.  Fantastic!  He said, You?  The best time of my life!  Then we sank back into our seats, beamed at each other, congratulating.

Yesterday, I went back to the National Gallery with my female BFF.  We both love art.  For 4 years, we sat side by side in art class, painting- apples, oranges, flowers.  We exchanged gifts.  We do this every year- tell each, no need, no need, don’t buy; and yet each Christmas, we each give each other something we know, the other will like.

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A calendar!  I said excitedly.

Haha, yup!

Yay!  Either horse or dog?

Yah!  Hahahaha, how did you guess?

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***

The Singapore that I love, resides in the unsung landscape of my heart.

IMG_4407 Chua Ek Kay

It resides in its historic quarters, in the buildings that remind me of another time.

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There were others that came before, immigrants from afar.

IMG_4389 Sculpture of Mrs Elizabeth Choy by Dora Gordine

They give me context, especially when I feel alienated in a city that relentlessly powers on.

I struggle with living in Singapore.

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You’re a free spirit, Tam.  BFF (male) said.

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And Jon is a long-suffering spouse!

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In a few hours, I leave for London again.

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This time, I’m cloaking myself in all the love that has been heaped on me, in a week.  All the kindness, the joy, the laughter shared… Ah, we, the citizens of Singapore.

 

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