I often get asked, “Are you planning to eventually go back to New York?” and I always replied, “Yes.”. I told myself when I left New York that I’d give myself ten years to try living elsewhere and explore the world outside of New York. At the time, I had told myself that I will eventually return to New York. No matter how much of a ‘life traveler’ I may be, growing up away from family at a young age, I do long for a place to settle down and call home at some point. It wasn’t easy to start all over again from scratch after uprooting myself four years ago, and as the years passed by, Singapore has inevitably grown to feel more and more like home. I know I am trying my best at that. The few American friends that I know of who moved here for work generally hang out only with fellow Americans or expats. As for me, even though majority of my friends here and the people I often hang out with are Singaporeans, while most people don’t see or treat me as an expat, I still feel very much like a tourist in Singapore. -_-“
When I was recently invited to participate in a tour exploring Singapore and collect memories related to Singapore – aptly called The Singapore Memory Project, I signed on because it’d give me an opportunity to better appreciate the culture of this place where I live now.
The Singapore Memory Project is a whole-of-nation movement aiming to capture and document precious moments and stories of the past. I find this to be a great initiative because I have a strong personal interest towards Asian diaspora and an observer of different cultures. In my opinion, it’s important to appreciate the struggles and life stories of our immigrant forefathers and the sacrifices they had to make in order to provide us a better life. In this day and age of rapid technological advances that seem to make the world smaller, we get to understand (or even adopt) other cultures that aren’t our own, so I find the old memories even more precious as they are in essence our core identity. Regardless whether you’re a Singaporean or an overseas-born Asian, culture is a beautiful thing. Our history is an authentic testament of the life we lead today.
Oh well, maybe I’m just a sap who gets off on nostalgia. :’) I remember when I was a little girl living with my grandmother, I would open this wooden drawer next to her bed filled with black and white photos of her family and relatives, and spent hours looking at them, studying their faces, hair, clothes. Both my parents, I have observed in the recent six or seven years, have begun archiving items that speak of our family history. My dad even traveled to his great-grandfather’s hometown and acquired some genealogical manuscript that contained ancestry records dating back to his great-great-great-great-dunno-how-many-generations-up-grandfather. O_o Clearly, this nostalgia-itis gotta be a hereditary thing. :P
During the short tour which I joined, we touched briefly on a handful areas in Singapore such as Raffles Place, Albert Center, Bras Basah Complex, Esplanade and Jalan Sultan/Arab Street. Went totally snap happy on the tour, so please be warned that from here onwards it will be image heavy.
The Singapore Memory Project is a public engagement campaign and everyone’s encouraged to contribute and deposit your memories and stories, through the following ways:
And for those of you who are active on social media, you can also check out:
The Singapore Memory Project also presents “My Home, My Library” – a nationwide exhibition showcasing personal memories contributed by residents of each neighbourhood. From library romances to tok-tok noodle carts and kampong life, each memory tells a unique story that forms a portrait of our home and our libraries. Take a peek into our treasure trove of stories and share some of your own precious memories with your fellow residents. (Admission is free.) This is a great family activity and you should bring your parents and/or kids to check out this exhibition together. :) To make it more fun, take photos of the exhibition and post on Instagram and/or Twitter with the hastag #sgmemory for a chance to WIN $200 VOUCHER weekly. Start sharing your photos now!
So, even though I am a tourist in this country now, life is a journey after all and I am glad I have this blog as a partial repository of my experiences. My journey continues…