All of the Lights | 05-110318

Tourists. S’s parents are visiting from Kerala this week and next. Seeing Singapore through the eyes of visitors – or, to imagine what it must be like to see all of the sights, which we take them around to see, for the very first time – makes us appreciate our little country more than usual; it IS such a beautiful spot, what with all of its lush, well-planned-and-manicured greenery, spectacular Peranakan-meets-art-deco-meets-futuristic architecture, cultural variety and, especially relative to India, cleanliness. As they’re staying with us, I get a good chance to think about the fact that every family operates differently: I enjoy getting to know this one better, noticing what they like and dislike, their rhythms and mannerisms. Another perspective: they are my family now; it’s interesting to notice what S has and hasn’t got in common with them; as his parents, they can of course only be friendly, loving, good people. They love the calm, light-filled, leafy layout of our apartment and Tiong Bahru – and their breakfast croissants and cappuccinos at the Tiong Bahru Bakery. They marvel at the impressive view of the Marina Bay from a taxi taking us from the CBD to Bugis. They take soooo many pictures around the mosque and bazaars in Kampong Glam. They love our evening stroll around the Marina Bay Promenade watching the impressive installations of the i Light Marina Bay, ‘Asia’s leading sustainable light art festival’ (a competition I had never guessed existed!), our morning stroll through the Botanic Gardens (I’ll never get enough of taking visitors to the orchid bit of the gardens, haha!), touring the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest in the Gardens by the Bay, our Sunday excursion to the beaches of Sentosa and cable car ride from the island to the top of Mount Faber, from where we wander through the Southern Ridges to Henderson Waves, the Canopy Walk and HortPark, as well as all of the hawker centre food. S and I share their excitement. They also want to do Western things, which are not super accessible in Kerala: we go for frozen margaritas and guac at the Mexican on the corner of Haji Lane on Friday, catch The Shape of Water (which I loved!) at an Orchard cinema on Saturday and experience the musical Evita at Marina Bay Sands on Sunday (it does give me goosebumps to hear Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, my go-to shower song, performed on stage, and the MasterCard Theatre is stunning, its foyer design nodding to the mirror effects in the Chanel flagship store in Paris and the white spiralling features of the Guggenheim in New York), the latter followed by prosecco by the hotel’s rooftop pool. The panorama of the city from the deck of that crazy ship is not a bad way of ending a sightseeing week.

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