Meeting The Locals



I rarely travel overseas as overseas rather conveniently calls in to see me at home. I live in a street that is quite cosmopolitan in a suburban way. Perth has districts that collect people of similar national origins or ethnicity – Leeming and Murdoch have many Chinese people – Canning Vale has quite a few Indian families. Maylands has a growing African population. Thornlie used to be very English and Melville awfully Dutch. and so on. And every so often there is a shakeup and everybody goes everywhere – my street has one of nearly everything…and that includes me. I think we may be a slough of religious despair for visiting missionaries…we don’t eat them but they do go away deflated.

Well, Singapore is the same. They have their Little India and Chinatown and Arab Street and apparently a Holland Village. If they are running short of Malays, they keep a store of spares just the other side of the Strait of Johor. There are likely to be lots of other groups and subdivisions here as well, and the delightful thing about it is that they seem to get on fairly well with each other. The newspaper roared with protest about the antics of a dodgy electronics dealer in Sim Lim Square but he has decamped. And the locals got up a fund to reimburse one of his tourist victims…who thanked them but refused the offer in case it would make his own country look bad.

There was no finer illustration of the civilised mix than that seen at the zoo on Sunday. The displays were attended by hundreds of people in cheerful family groups of all colours, shapes, and sizes, and every one of them seemed to have a good time…with the exception of the teenagers who were too busy on their iPhones to look at the exhibits.


Take particular note of the large reptiles in the illustrations. They are father and son. The big one is named Kerry and the small one is named James. I also asked about the giant crocodile and apparently he is named Rupert. I have decided not to ask any more questions…


Final note: it is still swampy here. Look at all the water lilies surrounding the village. I think they need to start draining the place.

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