The other day I found Red Bull’s Singapore Seven series – a set of interviews with local movers and shakers about how they got to where they are, and what it is that keeps them going.
I went through all 7 of them, back to back. Rapt for once: a non-standard response to internet video, which is usually accompanied by all the things one can do in other browser tabs.
Three years ago I came back here to say goodbye to my father, and stayed eight months before hitting the road again. It had been fifteen years since I’d been back for any decent amount of time, and was the point I began coming to terms with what it meant to be Singaporean. When I left Singapore for Australia in 1999, the mission was to try and forget the place existed. This was of course, impossible to do, but heck, I was 18. I gave it every bit of vehement teenage angst I had. Having been removed this long, everything about it surprised me, even things that shouldn’t have, like my family, for instance (the feeling was mutual: we’re an odd bunch, we agree).
So it’s been lovely coming across local artists taking on the social landscape, and giving the machine perfection of the mother country a nerve-wracking humanity. In the case of the Singapore Seven, it is an uncommon pleasure to find such well made profiles in language and expression that is still instinctual. I’ve mentioned once or twice that I don’t feel as much of a stranger anywhere as I do in the land of my birth, so it’s an even rarer thing to find that I relate – at all – to what these seven are saying.
While I still have no idea what to do with myself in the motherland, it is heartening to know that there might be a tiny space for weirdos like me; that I might someday learn to belong. As strange as it feels to admit after a lifetime of refusal: I ache to call Singapore my home.