just back from a fabulous beautiful gorgeous walk. sg50, been hearing that for so long, hard to believe we are almost here. 6th a’reddy. so we had to go and see what’s happening along padang, city hall, that entire stretch rich in history and moment, all set for the big fiftieth birthday celebrations. not that it ever looks ordinary or like just another stretch of road, but tonight it was grand and red and euphoric.
a friend of mine, who’s lived in singapore for a few years and is here for a holiday, joined us with her daughter. we met at raffles city for this evening’s traipse. first stop, saint andrew’s cathedral. it was beautiful of course. but when we looked back, we realised, the swissotel stamford was a column of red now, not its usual greyish hue. we took pictures excitedly trying to catch the entire length of the building in the frame. then we argued about the route, thankfully we didn’t waste too much time and trundled off toward city hall instead.
from the cathedral grounds itself we could here the music. what was up, asked the kids. you rarely hear loud music on the streets in singapore. but tonight was not like other nights… a happy feeling in the air, and a bit of rule breaking too. people strolled around in small groups, many didn’t wait for the traffic lights to change before crossing the street.
a row of screens lit up the padang, all sorts of sg50 videos played, on some screens there were live street scenes, seemed like a rehearsal; on the other side, city hall was resplendent and stylishly done up, majulah singapura written across in light. there was red all around, the music had a beat, and there was lightness, an almost movie like feel to it all. so we did what we felt we must. we danced.
my friend’s daughter and i whirled around madly, right there on the pavement… i was certain we’d be hauled away to a mad house or something soon, but before that, we’d get our naach.
the supreme court building had a poised air, the cricket club proudly displayed the red and white flag on its walls, a projection i think; we went toward the fullerton hotel, people were standing on the road divider in front of it with cameras on stands taking shots of the stately colonial building. it was wrapped in a blaze of red, a huge light display of the flag right across its facade. just breath taking.
there was a hum everywhere, excitement. the waters shimmered in from marina bay and met the singapore river under the anderson bridge. we made our way to boat quay for dinner. lights and hope all around.
thanks so much, aj, for suggesting this walk and making sure we were in time to catch the light play.
tonight again i thought of mr lee, i wondered how he’d sounded on that day fifty years ago, addressing singapore, declaring independence. wanted or not, that state of sovereignty was this nation’s and there was no way of even imagining singapore won’t make it alone if you were out walking with us this evening.
end of 1997, we moved to singapore from india. in 2015, the country celebrated fifty year of independence. singapore has given me much and i am fascinated by the spirit of this gutsy city state with hardly any land or resources, but oh what dreams and chutzpah (the finest interpretation of the word), the ability to reach big, hunker down and hold and strategise and act and grow. despite my many years here, i haven’t seen a lot of the island, which started out at only 28 miles by 18. now of course it’s bigger, thanks to that spirit i spoke of. so i thought why not see singapore in this landmark year, and celebrate #sg50. aj, my friend and trainer, and i traipse in different parts of the city every week. hope you enjoy the walk talk. you’ll find more in my index. and the walks continue in singapore’s year 51.