Finally home after one month of being away, I find myself back in the first city I called home: Singapore. Interestingly enough, this home feels more distant that my other homes combined. In a city that she finds her authenticity in its manmade architecture of skyscrapers, I can’t help but ponder upon her values as a nation.
No doubt, this city has everything a modern society needs. The 4G internet, the rooftop parties against the sunset, the endless tropical summer pool parties or the diverse culture of people of all walks of life. It is everything most people dream of. It is almost impossible to spend a day in Singapore without bumping into Ferrari, Lamborghini or even Bugatti, or to see people flaunting their latest Chanel or Louis Vuitton bags. In a city built by the material goods, the material goods end up building the people.
A concrete jungle of world-class banks, prestigious law firms and multinational companies, I was lost between the suits and ties, blazers and skirts. I remember dreaming about being one of these ladies, walking the streets of Raffles City in my stilettos, carrying my laptop and going for meetings. But as I walked into one of the many skyscrapers there, I’m thankful my dream has changed.
I spent the last 2 days in the city centre and financial district of Singapore. Inside the fabulous and stylish image of Singapore, I saw rows and rows of cubicles and tiresome individuals. Barely anyone smiled, except the receptionist, where it is mandatory.
Behind the first world appearance of this city lies a country of hardworking individuals that knows no rest. And the achievement and satisfaction that comes from the hard work is reflected in the latest material good bought.That lifestyle possibly came from the meritocratic system that built this society.
Working hard, chasing goals and fighting to the top. In the midst of all the struggles and rat race, I wonder if the individuals have lost themselves. Or perhaps this lifestyle is what they decided to settle for. (Not that this lifestyle is bad. Have you seen the lives of these people? It’s a luxurious madness.)
To be able to call Singapore my home, I am forever thankful. Growing up here is nothing like my friends on the other side. I have never climbed trees when I was young, never swam in the open sea till I was 19 or saw a real-life cow for that matter. Instead, I grew up between shopping malls, brand names and tons of food.
Being back in Singapore on the last few days of the year helps me to collect my thoughts after travelling to 19 countries this year. This city will always be my home. But having seen the moon on the other side, I fear that I am no longer the same.