Of internal conflict on National Day

The flags have been meticulously hung out by the town council; there are no faded, upside-down or mirror-image flags in sight. People have flags on the side mirrors of their cars, and everyone’s sending out “Happy Birthday, Singapore!” tweets. Even the sushi store by my local Cold Storage is having a National Day sushi set.

Some years I’ll participate, letting myself get swept up in the festive feeling. Or I might complain about the quality of the song (okay, I have done this fairly often). Sometimes I find myself getting teary during the fireworks, while other times I feel little more than a vague discomfort. My feelings about National Day have not remained constant. As I get older I find myself feeling more and more conflicted, unsure how to feel, how to react, what to say.

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Shifting scenes, again: Of simple things like commuting

The bus pulled up at the hot, dusty stop. It was clear almost immediately that it was full, yet people kept trying to pile in.

“Move in, please,” the bus driver hollered. People shuffled a centimetre, an inch along, but there wasn’t much more they could do.

“I’m going to shut the door!” But the doors wouldn’t shut, springing open again as it hit against shoulders and arms. Finally, a primary school girl hopped out of the bus, resigned. The doors snapped shut and the bus pulled away.

It’s not an uncommon occurrence in Singapore. But as I stood slowly melting in the hot – but somehow not as hot as I remember it – pre-noon sun it felt as if I had never seen so many people in one tiny space before. The number of people on the bus felt, to me, like the entire population of the Isle of Skye, and I missed that empty, rolling Highland landscape.

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National conversations.

It’s been awhile since I last blogged. Not much has changed, really; I’m still in Dunblane living the quiet life, volunteering once a week in a charity shop and reading novels like I haven’t done in far too long.

Through the Internet, social media and the chat of friends I have been able to keep up with developments back home. But I’m also keeping my eyes open for stories in Scotland.

It’s a good time for it, because in slightly less than a year Scotland will vote on whether it should become an independent country. From now until 18 September 2014 the Independence Referendum will most likely be the biggest story.

I’ve visited a few times before, but this is the first time I would say that I’m living in Scotland. I don’t know very much about this country and its politics, and have been reliably informed that Braveheart provides a woefully inaccurate and bastardised account of its history. I don’t have many pre-conceptions, and there is much to learn.

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