The High Road

Singapore, December 2015

I haven’t lived in Singapore since 1999, but have spent a significant amount of time there in the last 3 years. It’s a topsy turvy process, confronting the strangeness of the superficially familiar. It’s easy for me to say “I’m Singaporean” everywhere, except in Singapore, because it’s there that the phrase makes no sense.



  1. Fran Oldham says:

    I understand that Singapore is a hugely cosmopolitan place, with populations from all over the world, but why wouldn’t you and they all be able to say they were Singaporean? I’m hoping to be educated here, not arguing!
    I’m always glad to see your e-mails and enjoy both your photos and what you have to say.
    Don’t stop, please!

    1. Charlene says:

      I am a Singaporean by birth and citizenship. I identify as one when I am overseas as this gives people some idea of where I come from ethnically, culturally and perhaps, economically. When I am back “home,” I am heavily out of sync with other Singaporeans, culturally, economically and philosophically. I’ve spent exactly half my life living outside Singapore. My identity is fluid in this regard.

      As for everyone else, you’d really have to ask them, Fran!

      1. Fran Oldham says:

        OK, now I understand a bit more…a good bit of your “disconnected” feeling probably comes from having spent so much time in other countries and environments. I can entirely empathize.
        I was born and brought up in England but spent seven years in Canada, then back to England and for the last 40 odd years I’ve been here in the US. I don’t feel American or Canadian and when I’m in England I don’t recognize it as being home or, in many ways, where I grew up. Just a fish out of water!
        Take care!

      2. Charlene says:

        Pretty much, Fran! I suspect this isn’t a feeling that will go away anytime soon. Life in limbo.

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