On Monday, I had dinner with a friend from Seoul. She worked in Singapore for a year and a half and moved back to Seoul recently, but can't wait to land a job that will bring her back here again. At dinner also were her friends from France-via-Réunion and Morocco, who have lived in Singapore for three years and counting. "We love it here," they said. "Everything's so easy."
On Tuesday, I had dinner with a former student who now works in New York City. He said he'd come back to Singapore to work if the right job came up. "Why come back to Singapore?" I asked, not provocatively, genuinely curious. He shrugged loosely. "It might be interesting. For a while."
On Thursday, at Polymath & Crust, I eavesdropped on a woman (I think she was French) talking about having lived in Singapore for over twenty years. "It's much better now than it used to be," she averred, "but things keep changing. I can't recognise some places anymore."
On Tuesday after dinner, I walked from Robertson Quay along the Singapore River over to Zouk (yes, I know no one goes there on Tuesday nights, that was kind of the point). The river seemed particularly shimmery that night. I looked across the river, seeing sparkling condominiums, seeing the ghosts of old godowns that used to define the riverbanks. I love my city, mixed-up as it is.
I've been assured that there's been a wave of responses to "Once Bonded", though many must be invisible to me because they're on Facebook and non-public Twitter pages. At any rate, the comments that are public and the responses I've received have been plenty to digest. The essay seems to have tapped into what I've been calling a vein of unarticulated dissatisfaction --- though now that I think about it further, I'd rather describe it as a disquiet that dare not speak its name.
The spectrum and tenor of the responses are also fodder enough for another s/pores essay, but I'm not sure yet if I'll write that one. Maybe when there's been some distance and fresh perspective between this essay and the next.
I haven't added anything to the comments because I've said all I want to on this subject already. It's most welcome and intriguing to hear from readers, but hey, even if I were still a teacher, I'd say go talk about it among yourself and work out your own conclusions.