I was approached by the Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth of Singapore to visualise and write about my reintegration into Singapore. I obliged on the condition that my life's north star–Pigeons–would take the centre stage in this narrative 🕊️ Here goes:
Prior to the Pandemic, I spent a whole year on Artist residencies;
travelling all over the world. In the best of ways, it felt like I was free-falling down an endless rabbit hole of life's eclectic offerings; food, culture, languages, friends, perspectives.
Throughout my journey, I sought to emulate my favourite animal, the common pigeon. As a "banana" who never felt tied to any identity, not least Singaporean, its universality across cities around the world had an uncanny persuasion; ubiquitous and accepted among the locals.
But of course, my life took a different turn after March 2020, as it did many others. Reassimilating to life in Singapore was incredibly difficult. I spent the first few months lamenting (and grieving) the life I once led. However, several months into this sad trajectory, I came across an intriguing piece of pigeon trivia: Pigeons don't choose "home" based on merits; they do so from familiarity. That home isn't necessarily an idealised fairytale land but one that you've accepted for its positives, as well as its negatives. After accepting this axiom, I was ready to see what this new phase in life had in store for me.
As the measures started to lift, I was able to embark on my new mission; to rediscover Singapore through the lens of food. It's a neverending adventure, reflected by the sheer breadth of diverse cuisines available on this tiny island. Some days, I'd discover new fortnightly haunts (such as this basement-level Burmese restaurant), other days, I'd cook family recipes (like Hakka Yong Tau Foo) that I had inherited during the lockdown. Either way, my friends and family have been a central part of this journey, with every step bringing me closer to understanding what it means to be Singaporean.
This gastronomical journey of self-discovery will likely lead me beyond the confines of Singapore, as was the case before March 2020, but I suspect this particular chapter will stay with me for a long time.
Thanks for stopping by!
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