Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Love and hate - Singapore

Mr Brown's put up some lovely old photographs of Singapore circa 1966/1967.

One of the things I struggle with is that I find Singapore difficult to love. I don't hate Singapore; I am aware that are many many good things about living in Singapore but nevertheless, I find Singapore difficult to love.

I like the convenience of living here, the efficient public transport and etc but somehow, something is always missing.

But anyway, I saw those old photos and was suddenly overcome with this ofeeling of wistfulness. i don't know why. I wasn't born in the 1960s and I have never experienced 1960s Singapore but when I looked at these pictures, I was overcome by this.... wistful feeling that once upon a time, maybe Singapore was a place that was easier to love. Maybe.

But that feeling evaporated by the time I took the next train home. That train and some of the trains in the last few weeks have required quarts of patience and fortitude. Once I ended up hugging Mr Grey all the way from my stop to town - not that i mind hugging him - but it was that crowded. So crowded we couldn't afford to even have normal couple space between us.


But there are very specific parts of Singapore I do love - wholeheartedly and easily. I love wandering around the Katong area, eating nyonya kuehs, peeking into shops that sell Peranakan paraphernalia ...

I love my walk home and how the path from the train station into the estate leads me past a small patch of green and how on rainy days, the path echoes with the sound of a bull frog chorus. There are melodies and harmonies and I am in love with how it drowns out even the sound of the trains passing by. I love that path, that little itty bit of green with the occasional flashes of blue from kingfishers and the odd squirrel.


On a somewhat related note.

Just the other day, I was walking home in the dim twilight. Not on the same path as above, another one. (this is why I love my estate, it abounds in paths that cut through swathes of green)

As I walked, I peered out in the gloom and saw something that made my hair stand at first. Staring back at me was a pair of eyes, a tall great thing that seemed to come up to waist height. Then I realized the thing was a very very large bird on stilt like legs with banded brown and white wings.

For brief moments, I looked at the bird and it looked at me. And all the time I wondered - what breed? What species? Have I got time to take a photo? No, too dark. Argh.

Then it hopped away and was lost in the gathering night. 

(I have a very old book - Birds of Singapore - that I bought when I was 11. It has coloured pictures (not photographs) and is somewhere in the wasteland that is my room. I have GOT to track that book down and find out what bird that was.)


Random addendum

I look around at a lot of people who can't imagine living anywhere else. Then there are people who would jump at a chance to get out.

It's odd but I'm not really in either group. I like specific bits about here. Mostly that the family is here and so life is easier - the kind of ease that comes when you have a large extended family and their support.

I'm aware that life elsewhere is likely to be tougher in some respects. But... when I think about having green spaces and my kids growing up to live in shoebox apartments ... there is a sense of worry and unease. This is no country for dreamers.

1 comment:

Hannah Neo said...

I agree on your last sentiment... Haiz. How will the kids grow up???