Four Years On

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The latest addition to the Grassroots Reading Room.

Going to college was a significant change for me, and regrettably I let this blog lie fallow. Yet my new life experiences have exposed me to different audiences who would receive my original purpose – that of highlighting the lesser-seen and heard-of in this island city of mine. 

College brought not just disruption, but also new interactions with people whom I realised were experiencing Singapore for the first time. I found myself having to explain things about the life and culture of my city more than I ever did up until that point. And it was then that I realised there have been many aspects of it I have taken for granted. Why had certain institutions, like hawker centres and HDB flats, developed as they were? Why were some Chinese Singaporeans completely unable to speak Mandarin despite having learnt it in school for ten years? Why did some of our streets have uncannily European-sounding, non-British names?

And in the bustle of assignments, job-seeking and credit-planning, I felt myself slowly lose touch with wonder. The wonder of being able to walk around the city, out of campus, and simply enjoy all it has to offer. Of once again seeking out things and places that would fascinate anyone who has come to the city for the first time. Living with three international students now had given me impetus enough to bring them to my favourite haunts around the island that I knew they wouldn’t be able to access from any travel guide. And yet it was only recently that I felt I could do more.

Regrettably, my new pace of life might mean I am unable to update this blog as often as I would like. It’s taken me too long to realise that this platform has become a sort of voice for me – a voice for my own thoughts and reflections on the city, a space for me to bounce ideas off my own writing in a method of introspection. But this coming year, I hope to continue seeking out and writing about places and people off the beaten track. Who knows, my perspectives might have changed after my exposure to the discourse surrounding heritage preservation and cultural heritage during my stint as an intern journalist this summer. Then again, it might make for a change that is not entirely unwelcome.

To all who still stick around: thank you for your support, your comments, your like in 2017. They have made me smile, kept me going, and reminded me that there’s at least some people who might be paying attention to this strenuous effort of mine. A Happy New Year to all, and may 2018 be a new time of happy beginnings to all.

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