Singapore is my home, and small as it may be, I don’t think I’ll ever want to leave it permanently.
Temporarily – I’ve done that often enough, throwing aside my work and taking occasional holidays. While I love the thrill of exploring new, unfamiliar places, there’s something inexplicable about that feeling of coming back home; seeing the twinkling tiny lights of the many high-rise buildings, winking their welcome as your plane coasts in; feeling the familiar blast of warm air washing over you once you step out of the air-conditioned terminal; anticipating my next meal and indulging in my local favourites, whether it be the warm meaty soup goodness of bak ku teh or fragrant tasty chicken rice.
Somewhere inside of me, my heart heaves a sigh of relief at being back home.
Singapore is far from perfect – ask any taxi driver when you get here; Singapore’s society is too stifling, our ways too contrived, we’re losing what little culture we have too quickly, it’s too damn hot… We are number one at a lot of things, and very good at complaining. But you don’t love a place because it’s perfect, it’s usually love in spite of all that, and I can’t honestly think of another place as my home.
Home is about finding the place where you fit, and here amidst the frantic pace and race to the peak that Singapore has come to represent, somehow there’s a niche that’s my own. 28 years of my life, all 28 of them I’ve lived here. Perhaps there are better me-shaped spaces for me out there in the world, who knows?
But one thing I’ve learned from my travels is how to appreciate home, for both its perks and flaws. Singapore might be getting more crowded but it remains one of the safest and most stable societies in the world; the weather might veer crazily between hot and wet but we’ve never had to deal with earthquakes or natural disasters; we might be a small country some people still think is a part of China, but our little red passport is recognized by governments worldwide and gives us unparalleled access.
I am Singaporean, and I’m proud to call it my home.
They say home is where the heart is, wherever in the world that may be. My heart is here in Singapore, with my family and my history and that familiarity, so this is where I’ll always call home.
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I originally wrote this as my very first assignment for Matador U’s travel writing course (like my Tumpek Landep piece from Bali) – it was very creatively titled ‘500 words on Singapore’ because I can be creative like that. MU is deleting the coursework blog where this was originally posted, and I’m actually quite fond of this very first piece that I spent quite a lot of time on, so I thought I’d share it here for something a little different.
I thought about saving it for National Day or something when there’s some truly patriotic pride thrumming in the air, but that’s a long time away, so here you go! Head on over to Singapore Shorts for more of my articles on Singapore. I’m gonna revamp that page into a more useful resource one soon so visitors and locals alike can use it to get some ideas on exploring this little home city of mine, so stay tuned to that.
If you notice in the text which I didn’t change, it says I’m 28, or well, I was 2 years ago and now I’m just weeks away from the big 3, WOE. I think my sentiment remains mostly unchanged – I’m getting a little more curious about what’s out there in the rest of the world, but I can’t imagine very much that would make me want to leave here for good.