Sunset over a turquoise pool

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Besides family and friends, what do you miss most when you’re away from home?

Surveys done on Singaporeans reveal the top of the list is FOOD.
No doubt about it. We do miss our food – the rich variety and cultural blends; relatively affordable and delicious local fare as well as the more snobbish choices of fine dining; and most of all, the convenience of eating out without the hassle of cooking and washing.

But in recent years, the central kitchen has taken over the mom-and-pop shops with food courts springing up in every mall with the same mediocre standard and impersonal service. “Street” food has completely lost its flavour leading to a hunt by local celebrities to seek out the best and most authentic Singaporean food around the island.

Next on the list was SHOPPING. Was as in until Singaporeans discover that shopping in Thailand is worth the flight and stay for a couple of days. Shopping in Singapore is still great except that the same brands and shops are found in almost every mall, even malls one block from each other.

So if you regret not buying anything from a shop, there’s no need to turn back. There’s another one just a few steps away. Shopping in Singapore is like walking along the beaches of Pattaya or Bali where the same products are being flogged. The joy of shopping and finding something different is a thing of the past.

What else is there to miss when one’s away from Singapore? What is so unique about here that I can’t get anywhere else?

By the way, one of the things we don’t miss is our weather. It’s too hot and humid. Back in the old colonial era, there is a popular saying about mad dogs and Englishmen both being out when the sun is at its hottest. The wiser locals prefer to be indoors during the day and come out at night like how vampires would live.

On one such hot and humid day, I went for a swim in the evening. The water stayed warm holding the heat from the blazing sun hours ago. The neighbourhood kids who were splashing around earlier have all gone home for dinner. It’s the quietest time of the day here and I’m all alone.

Did my little laps and floated on my back facing the sky. Then I saw the sunset – pinkish gold, golden pink, baby blues and pastel hues. What a glorious end-of-the-day display!

This must be what I will miss most when I’m away from home. Swimming outdoors in tepid water, a turquoise pool to myself, watching day turn to night, staying for as long as I like.

Joan Yap

 

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