In early November, I was fortunate enough to attend the Singapore Writers Festival. It was my first trip to the country and I had a fantastic time. I met some awesome writers from all over the world and the staff who put the festival together were on top of their game. Thank you Cheryl Tan for suggesting me as a panelist!
Man, it was hot down there. I asked people how early Singapore settlers coped with the heat and humidity. They said that it wasn’t as bad in the early days and that global warming has raised both those metrics.
I’ll always remember the good times on the panels, walking through Lucky Plaza and seeing dozens of Filipinos waiting in line for phones a day before Haiyan hit and stumbling through crowded Little India ahead of the riots a month later. It seems a little grim to think of those times now, but the world-wide headlines while I was there was Rob Ford.
The festival was, again, fantastic, but I’m going to focus on my wanderings through Singapore. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a whole lot of night-market action (I was going by the Taiwanese “open all night” vibe when the Singapore standard is “major outlets closed by 8pm).
I’ll start with the obligatory video of the Merlion, the mythical creature that gave rise to Singapore’s name, and then move on to pictures with infrequent text.
These men are migrant South Asian workers who provide the muscle for Singapore’s constant construction.
The best drinks I’ve ever had from a 7-Eleven: both made in Singapore and with sugar cane!
The next few shots are public art shots (some sanctioned, some not).
That last picture is from the Little India, the neighborhood in Singapore where South Asian migrant workers (see above pic) converge upon on Sundays, their only day off. It turns out the situation really was “highly flammable”: about a month after the writers festival this happened.
Two more shots from Little India–the majestic Masjid Sultan and a warning sign by a canal that cuts through the neighborhood. Totem and taboo.
Final two shots–a food stand in Changi Airport (I wish JFK had one of these!) where I got Singapore’s national dish, chicken rice, done barbeque style. Bye for now, Singapore, and I hope to see you soon!