Letter to Singapore

[Originally submitted to Stories.sg, for its inaugural issue, Aug 2008]

Dear Singapore,

I hope you’re not offended when I say that you’re not the most beautiful person in the world.

I know what I’m talking about.

I’ve met others in the past 10 years: North America, China, Europe, South Africa, Japan…

But each time I venture out, I yearn to come back to you.

I can’t help it.

When I consider how expensive the taxi fares are in those foreign cities, I don’t mind giving you the occasional ERP charges.

When over there, walking from place to place is often not an option, physically or for reasons of personal safety.

When I’m hungry in the dead of night and realise there is no coffeeshop or convenience store to pop by on a whim.

I’m chicken when it comes to venturing out. In some ways, I blame you.

You are that familiar person I take for granted.

Because you allow me to.

Sometimes I wonder if you take me for granted as well. For two point five years my friends and I played the equivalent of modern day knights, in camouflaged uniforms, defending your honour.

We shed sweat, tears, a little blood, and a fair bit of curses.

For you.

And we did it proudly.

(Though most times we egoistical boys have to act cool and not acknowledge our pride in serving those two point five years).

I’ve been to places much more beautiful than you. But what is beauty if it only makes me feel more like a stranger in a strange land?

You’re not perfect.

But neither am I.

In fairness, we’ve managed to work on, rather than abandon, our relationship.

I’ve never written a love letter to another person other than my wife.

So this isn’t a one.

But it’s close enough.

Yours Sincerely,
Ivan

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