Perhaps I am being obscure again. But have you ever being assaulted by the sinking feeling you’re a stranger in your own land? Yes, I know it sounds like the “realization” scene from the Sci-Fi movie, “The Matrix.” But please bear with me and allow me to explain.
1.“Something strange is happening. I just can’t put my finger on it!” – Neo, The Matrix
Have you for example passed a Peranakan building only to wonder why it’s suddenly turned into an Italian restaurant? Or why there is so much glass and steel in China town just off Tanjong Pagar? And what happened to the bustling community of street vendors that once plied their trade and wares there? Like me, do you find yourself wondering how it seems everything these days is mindlessly turned into a giant hermetically sealed glass and steel soviet warehouse? Or when you are just walking around aimlessly in a mall – are you are suddenly seized by the realization, “Hey, this is my day off! What am I doing here, shopping? This isn’t supposed to be fun! This is so unreal, really it is! Is it?” Welcome to the surreal and “unreal” Singaporean lifestyle of today, otherwise known as the Matrix. It’s one that compels us all to ask,
“Where is the real Singapore today? Am I living in the matrix?”
Now I am not discounting for one moment my paranoia could be due to my skewered history as a bent individual. Even today it amazes me how I could manufacture great reams of nostalgia for a childhood that was, in truth, averagely miserable – for example, I am one of those who still lament the sacking of the old red brick National Library and when I enter the space age high tech one in Bugis. It just doesn’t feel the same. The books are still there, but there’s something amiss and it leaves a metallic taste at the back of my mouth that I can’t seem to shake off. Have you ever had one of those feelings before? Read the rest of this entry »