Any Way the Wind Blows

Friday felt like someone else’s life. Saturday was out-of-body. Sunday was a mess. It’s amazing how many things can happen in seven days, in between brunch, bouts of writing, going back to school and a country turning forty six.


Frank was in town, and I joined the Hong Kong friends in showing him around, feasting, walking and sweating, Singapore-style. We ended thursday night by weaving around the streets of geylang, lorong 16 and up. We were there for a huge beef hor fun supper but everyone was more intrigued by ladies in their heels and skirts pretending to text but always waiting and watching out of the corners of their eyes.


Friday evening was a blur of pocket squares, voices, candlelight, back rubs at the launch party, a real celebration of passion. I must have been buzzing with beer and excitement, because I remember increasingly less of it now, only that there were so many kind words that I felt humbled and even a little silly. It was only Sunday when I became besotted with Huzir’s poetry, and five nights later there we were, exchanging thanks and shaking hands. Sam and I retreat to the gallery and walk the corridors of the Goodman Arts Centre, and take the night in. It is a wonderful moment and I’m glad he is with me.


On Saturday we trekked all around Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam. Collectively, these visits felt like consecutive pages ripped straight out of a travel book, but even that can’t stop me from loving every street, smell and sound. The Chinese vegetable vendor on Campbell Lane taught us Tamil, the boys stared transfixed at threading at Rupini’s, and I breathed in the smell of the flower garlands.

We hit Kampong Glam just before the Muslim call to prayer and ended up falling asleep at a Cafe-slash-Chinese-Opera-House hybrid just a bit further down, the smell of Nasi Briyani from the street market still hovering over our shoulders. It made me smile to think of cultural ghettos being shared, C-M-I-O blending into CMIO. The next day, the Prime Minister spoke about stricter criteria for foreign professionals, and I absent-mindedly RSVPed  ‘Attending’ on Cook A Pot of Curry Day, without realising that the same-old human divides are just moving on to international lines, as we all grow old under the same dusty dawn.

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