Thus continues a series of notes about my recent travels. I didn’t post them earlier because they were mostly written as notes or based on notes scribbled in free moments in cafés, restaurants, train stations and buses. I have tried to modify them only enough to make sense of them, not to make them read-worthy.
America needs to cool its melting pot.
After two days in Singapore, I like culture. I did before, but I wasn’t as aware of it as I am now. There’s really too much to say about Singapore to do it any kind of justice in a single entry, and I’m too lazy to do more, so you’re not going to get nearly as much as you should. But it will be worth your money.
Now apply the last part of the preceding paragraph to my time in Singapore.
After getting started on my way by my impeccable hostess Vivien, I spent most of my one free day in Singapore wandering. It was unlike any wandering I’ve ever done before. Actually, I suppose my experience truly began on the way from the airport, when Vic and May took me for an Indian breakfast. Pulled tea will probably not satisfy the tea sipper, but it immediately addicted the tea gulper in me and single-handedly replaced my urge to sleep—despite a basically sleepless night—with a moderate sense of wanderlust.
So I spent the day going from the Malay Village to Little India, with the interim spent in that unique conglomeration of culture that defines Singapore. Collect in a bag three Asian/Pacific cultures, add a hearty dash of Western consumerism, and shake well. Place the mixture in a tropical island paradise and allow to settle. The result is happy, hearty little loaf of Singapore.
Unlike the West, where multiple cultures add their distinct flavor to an indiscriminate, yet dominant seed culture, those cultures mingle in Singapore with remarkable resilience. Yes, they do at times influence each other, but the general distinction is clear. The chemical equivalent distinguishes Singapore’s colloid from the West’s solution. The historical discerns the West’s Greek empire and Singapore’s Roman.
Perhaps no better example of this multiculturalism exists than Gospel Light Christian Churcn. I went to the second English service and the second Filipino service. That means I skipped the earlier counterparts of the services I attended, both Chinese services, the Indian service, and the Indonesian service. This wasn’t nationalistic disintegration, though. No, I was invited to and welcomed at all of them.
I chose some more pulled tea with friends, a Malay dinner, and repacking for my Thai excursion, with carefully laid plans to fill my three-day return to this cultural paradise.
(21 Jan 08 | Singapore)
UPDATE: Aforementioned carefully laid plans achieved the fate common to mice and men, as I was sick for my entire return visit and spent my time sitting in Vivien’s apartment reading and working on things online.