Pinch me. Seriously just pinch me. Am I really here? Am I really living here?
A lot has changed since we last saw the Fool: a brave yet somewhat naive individual jumping off a cliff with blind faith, courage and nothing but a small knapsack full of dreams. He’s lived through the Fool’s Journey and the many different experiences that have changed and shaped both him and his worldview. In some ways, he knows better now. In other ways, he’s still the same – brave, bold and willing to take the leap into the unknown.
I know, I know. I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus with this blog. And it’s not cause I’ve been lazy with my writing or anything like that… I’ve actually been working on a novel that I’ve been meaning to write for close to erm… four years now. The idea came to me when I was chilling in my apartment in Japan. I sketched the whole concept out in a notebook and then forgot all about it (and the rest of my God forsaken dreams). But that was then, and this is now. And I’m proud to say that the novel is… DONE!
I return to the old alleys of my childhood. The meandering lanes of shophouses, eateries and hidden treasures bring back the old stories – the ones my elders told me as I sat on their knee. Growing up, I had no idea that one day Arab Street would be part of Singapore’s heritage trail. To me, it was just home.
Dick Lee is best known for his musicals that encapsulate that uniquely Singaporean soul by telling stories through music. So when I found out that Dick Lee’s Singapopera was playing at the The Esplanade (our very own local durian-looking theatres on the bay), I knew I had to go. Mr. Lee has been around for so long that I’m surprised he isn’t telling dad jokes. To think he’s only four years younger than my old man. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at him. He still wears his signature suits, looking as dashing as always with his silver hair and infectious smile.
“In 1991,” I tell my best friend imitating my dad’s best nostalgic old man voice, “when I was a kindergarten, I used to take a trishaw to go to school.”
How much Singapore has changed. You know you’re getting old when you start stories with the year and constantly reference back to “my time”. It didn’t help that the trishaw uncle was doing the same.
As a third culture kid, home is everywhere and nowhere in particular. For a long time now, I’ve felt like the tortoise that carries its home on its back. Home is a feeling – a place in my heart, not a physical location. And yet every time I come back to Singapore, I remember that this is where I was born. I grew up in this city. It is familiar to me. Always will be. But I’ve lived so many lifetimes in the 11 years since leaving Singapore that I feel I’ve outgrown the streets and alleys of my childhood.