|Singapore at dusk|
When I come back to Singapore one day, I don't want to stay in a fancy hotel or go shopping on Orchard Road.
What I really want to do is walk down the back street from my apartment to the grocery store early in the morning, right before the humidity rises from the sidewalk. I want to pass by the old man who waters the plants and says: "Hello girl." I want to go to the hairdresser where the owner never fails to greet me with a disapproving look: "Long time not beautiful already."
I want to walk outside thinking it will be cold because I am leaving a freezing cafe where Christmas music is playing but immediately be enveloped by waves of heat instead.
I want to eat kimchi and laksa and masala dhosai and dumplings at any time of the day without ever worrying about opening hours or whether it's lunch or dinner time.
I want to hear someone ask: "Is it?" when I say something they find surprising and know that it's a statement and not a question. I want to walk carefully, dodging lighted candles and random treats on the curb during Hungry Ghost season. I want to hand out oranges and red packets on Chinese New Year. I want to be offered a tiny little mooncake that looks like a jewel and still fail to fully appreciate the appeal.
I want to buy manga comics, jade charms, and tins of yu yee oil all from the same store.
I want to talk about the haze from Indonesia and the rate of construction work with a taxi driver. I want to hear him complain that young people complain too much. I want to hear jokes I don't quite get from the popular deejays on the radio station. I want to see the sun rise and set at the same hour every day of the year like clockwork. I never want to wear socks and I want linen to always be in season.
However, if my husband chooses to stay in a fancy hotel or go shopping on Orchard Road, I will naturally just grin and bear it.