The wee red dot.
It has been more than 13 years since I left the Wee Red Dot (Singapore) to make a new home in Glasgow, Scotland. Singapore has changed a lot in those years; in my opinion some of the changes are good and some not so. Singapore is a city state with a land area of 719.1 Km² and land comes at a premium furthermore it's population is almost similar to Scotland which has a land mass of 80077 Km²!
The Singapore I remembered had more open space and was less crowded, now it's hard to find somewhere to unwind, relax and have some quiet, especially during the weekends. One change that I'm really happy with is the growing art scene in Singapore. As I was growing up, art was seen to be more of a hobby than a career. Most parents would want their children to achieve academic excellence as they believe that it would lead to better job prospects. Now there are many art studios as well as museums dedicated to different forms of arts. Singapore is a city that does not stay still, I try to visit Singapore once every 2 years.
Every time I visit there is always something new to see; tourist attractions; shopping centres or new buildings. This is also the first time in years that I'll be celebrating my birthday; Christmas; New Year and Chinese New Year in Singapore. The thing that I admire about Singapore is it's racial and religious harmony which is something that should never be taken for granted, especially in the world that we live in today.
It is a weird feeling to listen to Christmas carols playing in the background while I'm melting in the sweltering heat- it's meant to be cooler as it is the rainy season right now. However the temperature remains on average about 30 degrees daily. Food is one thing in Singapore that should not be missed as it's a food nation with a large variety of cuisine from both Eastern and Western cultures. Also there is a large variety of hawker (street) food to choose from. There are many hawker centres dotted all over Singapore and food is both cheap and tasty. When you visit a hawker centre it is possible to have a three course meal for as little as £5 and most will taste better than most Asian food we get in Glasgow.
The main reason for coming back to Singapore is to spend some time with my Nan who turns 105 years old in January. She has brought me up since I was 1 month old and there are things in life that I do not want to regret such as spending time with her, especially when she has always stood by and guided me no matter how much trouble I was in. In Scotland one might call me a 'toerag' due to the numerous times I got into trouble during my formative years.
It is also nice to get back into some form of normality after traveling for 3 months. Being able to rest as well as to catch up with family and friends. While being in Singapore, I've come to realise that Scotland is truly my home and Singapore is the place where I lived until I was a young adult. I do feel like a tourist due to the magnitude of changes that have taken place. Although it is nice to reminisce over the past and catch up with friends, the lifestyle of a Singaporeans is not something that I aspire to and I'm truly grateful for my life in Glasgow.