The facebook updates of my INSEAD classmates in Singapore got me a bit nostalgic about the summer I just spent in Singapore for my internship, especially knowing that I would not be going back for P5 or graduation...
Singapore is a tiny country that often evokes surprisingly strong (and sometimes quite negative) feelings from her visitors.
I personally don't have any beef with Singapore as I enjoyed the clean streets, reliable public transportation and efficient bureaucracy as much as the next person. The place can be dull, sure, but there are amazing beaches just a couple of hours away and plenty of shopping and delicious food at every turn of the corner.
As for the much dreaded chewing gum ban, I'd brought my Wrigley's from the U.S. and had been chewing them discreetly away from public view the whole summer. No problem!
Anyway, what I'm going to focus here is really the smell of Singapore. Every city has a distinct smell. Paris smells of croissant and butter. Shanghai smells of fried fish. New York smells of hot pretzels. Of course this is extremely personal, as everyone could be smelling totally different things at exactly the same city.
Singapore's definitely got a smell and it's hard to put a finger to it. It's not (just) the durian, if that's what you thinking. It's a powerfully pungent and sticky smell that permeates through the air and hovers over you all day and it also changes through the time of the day. When you wake up in the morning, the smell is more like ripe mango. Around lunch time, it turns into a mixture of semi-rotten bananas and curry. By night, it's morphed into an anarchic, but really appealing, concoction of wet fruit markets smells, hawker stations smells and the smell of the sea.
And that's what I will always remember Singapore for.
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