Writing this on a clunky old computer in a hotel room in Johor Bahru. The view is of a highway.
We spent the last two nights in Geylang, Singapore’s red-light district. The view was a row of brothels.
Singapore is unbelievably close to Malaysia. Driving across the causeway felt like a biscuit toss over a not very wide bit of water.
On the other hand, the imagined wall is a mile high. They always are.
We saw our friends Nora and Rizal. Nora wants to start a Malay-themed traveling circus. Rizal is in the process of setting up a leftist bookshop. Yes, the force runs strong in these two. We talked for many hours about the unsevered ties between Malaysia and Singapore, boat building in Sulawesi and island hopping in Indonesia.
They live in a beautiful block of old-style apartments. Next door, a huge hospital is being built, which is going to cater to Singapore’s booming medical tourism industry.
Naturally, the old buildings are going to make way for shiny new condos. Some generic wall of concrete and glass is going to replace this pretty gate:
We also saw Mun Kao and Juria. Mun Kao took us to the CHINA Chinatown, where we got into a high state of grease by eating large quantities of mainland Chinese street food.
Juria is a badass. She knows all the secret adventure places in Singapore: abandoned haunted hospitals, unused underground train tracks…
We found the exact Indian temple in the old postcard! It’s in Chinatown. The postcard also shows OCBC (Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation) Bank building on the opposite side, it’s still there today.
Multi-level buildings like this one loom right over you. You can’t see them here, but there were people in those little white cage-like things at the bottom level. They were construction workers, but I can totally see those cage things becoming special booths in the hotel’s open-air bar something or other.
A beautiful thing about Singapore is the trees. There are many of them, and you can tell they’re well taken care of, as they should be. Without them, the place would be desolate.
This man. He’s missing.
The nets don’t catch everything.