I remember watching an episode of Sex and the City a few years ago. Can’t recall which season exactly, but it’s the one where Cynthia Nixon (Miranda, right?) stands on the ferry taking her back to Manhattan. She looks at the island from afar, and says, “Who would’ve thought an island that tiny would be big enough to hold all our old boyfriends?”
Today, as Singapore turns 50 years old, I can’t help thinking along the same line.
No, the island doesn’t hold all my old romantic flings.
But this city, this tiny red dot island, has a great power millions times of its size to change one life’s for good.
This is the place where I get my university degree, the sole one I have so far.
This is the place where I start learning how to earn a living. A waiter, a clown, a salesman, a liaison officer, a customer service assistant, a writer. Wow.
This is the place where I gained and lost extreme weight within less than than half a decade.
This is the place where I met friends, lost friends, and eventually, have friends for life, for good.
This is the place where I started falling in love, and never look back again.
For others, Singapore may be the concrete jungles where business and fun meet.
But to me, Singapore is the leisure walk on a drizzling Saturday afternoon with friends for coffee followed by movies in Cathay or Lido. Or Sunday jog followed by lunch in any hawker centres. Or those do-nothing-but-sitting-on-a-couch in a friend’s flat. Or those late night supper of prata and nasi lemak back in our younger days.
I lived in the country for 6.5 years. I began as a young boy who left his hometown to study, and I left the country as a young man who decided to drop everything for a career change.
It has not been a smooth sail. But somewhere at the back of my mind, I keep thinking that I’ll be fine, as long as I have friends I made when I was here. Because they’re friends for life.
And now I remember that I watched the Sex and the City episode for the first time back in Singapore, in the room of my rented condo in Bukit Batok.
Happy birthday, Singapore.
You’re not just a well-designed country. You’re the land that has changed one’s life for good.