Singapore — It’s Thanksgiving in Singapore and I wake up empty and crusty. Thanksgiving will have to be conjured today, for Singapore has a negligible turkey population and has chosen Christmas to be its adopted holiday — more retail-friendly.
I sing lying down and skate across sounds for a bit until one feels more true, one that gives my crustiness voice.
There’s a way that many older Chinese men enter the morning. I’ve seen glimpses of it here and I remember it from streets and trains in China. They rise, walk slowly, creakily, a hand to their lower back, make their way to the washroom or some street side and, with no concern about being heard, hack, croak, spit. It’s the loudness of the latter that I particularly associate with the Chinese elders of my gender.
This is the character that comes to me in my singing and I stay with a dry, tired, croaky voice (save the spitting) until it changes, until more life enters, like different villagers opening their shutters to see what the morning has brought, making their first greetings to neighbors across the way.
Tomorrow morning I leave the Little India section of Singapore, the spices in the air, the night streets filled with people, the loud bollywood music and head back to Austin. Let the culture shocking begin.