Let’s be clear, Singapore ain’t my favourite place in the world. Far from it, in fact. Yet it was the place where I realized begrudgingly that I am a city boy.
I’d grown up my whole life in the idylls of the Weald of Kent, in a small village with a post office, a couple of shops, three pubs, where conversation was decidedly agricultural. From my bedroom window I looked out at rolling wooded farm land, weekends were often spent ‘twigging’, picking up the detritus from my father’s pruning efforts, while in a field nearby sheep were being sheered.
Yet in 2005 after five years in the helter skelter concrete jungle that is Hong Kong I traveled down to the South Island of New Zealand to see my elder sister and her family. For two weeks I traveled around the fantastically beautiful New Zealand countryside, taking in mountains, glaciers, lakes and seemingly half of the Lord of the Rings shooting schedule. I enjoyed it tremendously. Yet the lack of people I just found weird. Likewise, the severe lack of anything I had come to associate with news finding itself into the local newspapers was strange to me. ‘Sheep stuck in tree’ type thing might make a page lead in the bucolic surroundings of Dunedin. Alright that’s an exaggeration, but you get what I mean!
Flying Singapore Airlines back I stepped out in the sweaty Lion Republic and immediately, the noise, neon lights and elbow jostling just felt right. I am a city boy.