We've been to Singapore before. About 13 years ago. This time, things are different. We have a toddler in tow. We'll be living on the West part of the island, far away from expat central. Singapore has doubled in population.
Over the past five years, I've visited
Singapore a number of times. The first time, I expected things to be the
same. It threw me. I would see a stretch of road with buildings and
shops I recognized. Then, the next section would be completely
unfamiliar. It was as if I was in a bad dream, where my internal
expectations didn't match the external sensations. It left me
disoriented and disappointed.
Singapore had always
been, in my mind, clean, calm, a place Hong Kongers visited for some
down time, or "detox" as the expat community used to say. That was not
what I experienced in my visit a few years back. Singapore was busy,
noisy, chaotic. Far from the organized quiet I anticipated.
I knew, coming here again to start a new job, I had to set aside all my
expectations and expect nothing. Or maybe everything. I would be an
open book, with a blank page, willing to take it all in.
in a totally different area of the city helped a lot. We arrived here,
to a serene campus full of beautiful trees and very little traffic. We
walked around in the humidity and heat. These were all things welcome to
the senses. Sure, there is still chaos downtown, but mostly we avoid
that. Ah. Singapore. My first sling impression is not so very bad, lah.