Our old house in Singapore was for sale this summer. I can tell you when we lived there we never viewed this place as having this sort of value…….
We paid a cabby to drive us around to some of our old haunts today. Like most Singaporeans of a certain age, he was very helpful, and seemed to enjoy helping us connect with our nostalgic notions of life long gone here in the jungle – concrete and otherwise. We drove to the old house, Alex`s old school, some of the shopping locations. Jellita, for example, looked exactly as I remembered it. Much of the topography has changed in drastic ways. The old Clementi market was partially the same, but covered by a massive shopping and condo complex. The driver did buck me up some when he advised that the wet market lived on beyond the outer row of building. I have strong memories of that market with it`s powerful smells, especially of newly arrived durian…..
We went by the old house, and it was shuttered and empty, for sale, and unloved. It looked remarkably haggard, and had probably been vacant for some time. The yard was littered with old coconuts from the tree by the driveway… that fabulous fan palm was till there at the end of the yard. Amazing, that tree was probably fairly old for a weed. hard to believe you could convince someone to part with $S12.5M to own it.
New hospitals, train stations, malls, schools… the pace of construction is mind boggling. It`s like they are trying to win some kind of development race. The cabby wanted only $38 for about a 45 minute drive around Singapore and then to the airport.
Anyway…. 12 years have melted away for us, seeing many of the old places we spent time. I can`t say we will ever be back, at least probably not like this – on a voyage of discovery. We may drift this way a time or two before our days upon the mortal coil are spent. But as new age Magellans, eager and squinting on the fordeck to sight memories through the fog of time… this is probably our last look at this defining moment in our lives together. Despite not having had the chance, due to illness, to see more of it, we head off further south on another voyage of discovery. We have business at Botany Bay, so to speak. The Australian Ambassadors await us…