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Of Singapore slings and stings

Call it the four year itch, I just had to change my trip so that I could make a detour to Singapore, my home of two-and-a-half years when I was a swinging twenty-something single.

Almost as soon as I landed, I felt the warmth and friendliness of the people. The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system now connects all the way to the airport. The island state is greener and far more populated and organised than I remembered it.

Altogether I have lived in three different places on this island: the five-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel that provided three different views for the first 2.5 months, Bayshore (the newest condos by the sea, nearest to the airport at that time), and a top floor flat on River Valley Road. The last place 338 River Valley Road was demolished some three years back and replaced by tall condos.

"What would you like to do?" asked my friend who came to pick me up.

"Do the things I remember, of course," I replied. I meant that I wanted to eat my favourite foods: Hainanese Chicken Rice, Black Pepper Crab, Penang Laksa, Nasi Lemak, Sambal Fish, Kangkong Blachang, etc. Retrace familiar haunts such as River Valley Road. And see friends, neighbours, and ex-colleagues that still remember me.

Singapore brings back memories of cocktails and social dancing, late nights at hawker stalls and snooker bars, scuba diving, water skiing, and island hopping in Malaysia. I never bothered decorating my homes and furnished them minimally because my life consisted of work and a very active social life. I hardly ever cooked or stayed at home. There was no need for a cooker or a TV.

Singapore is so clean that mosquitoes cannot survive here. Still itching from the bites from Taiwan and the fresh ones from Thailand, I wanted to give my skin some time to cool off before heading back to Holland. In the middle of the first night however, I heard a familiar buzz. The mosquitoes have come back, to sting my unfamiliar, sweet flesh.

The stings reminded me why I left Singapore to go back to London. There were only two things that would have made me stay, and my boss tried his best but failed. I said,

"Double my salary or find me a man to fall in love with."

23 April 2004 Friday

Related links:
Singapore 1989 neighbours and friends
Singapore 1989 colleagues
Shop till you drop (in Singapore)
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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.
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