Soyamilk Rice balls, Tourists and a live in relationship

Sitting at front of City hall metro station with a cup of rice balls in soya milk, I am watching people walk by.  It's about half past five in the evening and air is crisp. The shoppers, the commuters, the suited men and the ladies with baby stroller. They all seem to have one thing in common. They seem to be in their own world, confined to their own private aura.   In my 3 plus years of live in relationship with Singapore, I found it challenging to start a decent conversation with a localite here.

A smile, or a hello are usually responded with a god-knows-what-weird expression.  On the other hand, it's easy to talk to expats, tourists and young hearted seniors. You can talk about weather, their work, ask for direction, guide them for direction or in my case even share a meal.  Being single here, I mostly end up sharing the dinning table at Kopitiams (food courts of Singapore). And invariable say hello and start a conversation with the person attending to hunger.  By now you would either think of me as talkative, overly curious, or someone with bad manners. Well why would I talk to someone for no reason? Isn't that like disturbing them? or worse intruding their privacy?!
This has nothing to do with this blog, 
Its cover I designed for one of my research papers last term that was very well received.

In the recent years there were more malls built than schools, even Museum spaces shrink down for souvenir shops to widen.  I challenge you to find a middle aged localite who's last 3 days does not include shopping or work.  The few hours that were left  are usually lived virtually or watching programs with more commercials.  A friend of mine invited me to his birthday dinner and kept checking his iphone for updates. I call these people virtual-zombies, for they don't live in this real world any more.

Once I shared my table with a single mother, who had left two kids with her parent in Malaysia to earn here. She worked in a service apartment by cleaning toilets and changing sheets. She used to be an assistant in a financial firm in Malaysia. But the pay wasn't enough to pay for the kids' tuition yet alone make their ends meet.  She even showed me pictures of them, and her plan to visit them when she have few holidays saved up.

While I wrote this an open-top-city-tour bus got past me, and I waved at the tourists who were clicking pictures. In return the white skinned group waved back at me with a chorus "hey". The evening sunlight from behind, illuminated their hair into yellowish gold . We were all smiling at each other until the bus crossed the corner.  Let there be malls, Smart phones and satellite dish full of commercial programs, all we need is a wave, a smile and person to talk to during meals.


Anonymous said…
I am a secret reader of your blog. You know me for years now. I am not sure how well though. Well enough to say hi hello and drop a mail I guess.

You have excellent writing style. Can avoid some grammatical mistakes since they are distracting.

Very impressive to see you go from a regular job to a design course. Great spirit!

Don't try to guess who I am. I don't think you can figure out.
Srivats said…
Hello friend

:) Thanks for words I am humbled. I would really love if u have told me what the mistake was, sometimes its
hard to find our own mistakes :) isnt ?

Take care
Gops said…
Good one da..
Ramesh said…
Wonderful post Sri. Enjoyed and savoured it.

Plastic beauty is all fine, can anything really replace a wave and a smile.
Anonymous said…
like always this time also you have impressed me with your observations and the boggling thoughts of mind. Terrific post once again. I too think tab, phone, malls are ok, all we need a warm smile :)
lovely post again, Sri! and again you notice and write so beautifully about the small things that really matter in life!!!
Anonymous said…
Hello there!

That was a nice picture and I like your writing style... may be you could write a book sometime in future.

We have chatted a few times and I am sure you wouldnt remember that though!

Keep up your good work,

Your friend.
Srivats said…
@ Ramesh :)

well said sir and sorry for not reading ur blogs regularly.

Time in Time out, you have inspired me to write more :) thanks for that
and look at the smiles u are bringing into my life :)

Yes I learn a lot on this regard from u as well, The bird watching and tremendous energy u put in during navrathri and all :) its the simple things like these that matters isnt ?


I am humbled by your words :)
Well lets chat again and make sure I remember you this time :)

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