This blog post is part of the Random Sampling Singapore project. The Project aims to sample 100 places on the island of Singapore over a one year period in order to gain an unbiased and holistic view of the city state.
End of Mai 2022 we met with Tuyen Do at the very last MRT station of the green line in Tuas Link. The station was modern and decorated with traditional Malay embellishments for the Hari Raya festival. We could see the coordinate far on the horizon, hidden behind trees and yellow building cranes.
From the meeting point we wanted to approach coordinate #11, located in the middle of the western wetlands. We were joking around to be glad to have a crocodile and snake approved Australian with us and walked along the road. We crossed a street at the underpass of the Tuas Checkpoint, one of the 2 checkpoints to Malaysia, when I saw a lonely tent next to a pillar. A very unfamiliar picture in Singapore. We passed some abandoned houses with strange and frightening signs on the fence when the street was ending at a gate to a restricted area on a dam with a floating solar farm. Somehow we were all secretly happy that our hike ended at this point on this extra hot afternoon.
In the shadow of an Earleaf Acacia tree Tuyen sampled the area. She picked up a seed pot of the tree and a feather. Tuyen mentioned the pleasing bird songs. Between the floating solar panels a group of otters were playing and hunting for fish. On the dam some monkeys were sitting and grooming them peers. The scenery was calming and was slowing us down. We were on the edge of Singapore, directly behind us the border with the checkpoint, which was closed for almost 2 years during the corona pandemic. Now the borders open again, cars coming in and out, people can travel again and see their families and friends. But so many things have changed since. Many people are feeling still on the edge.
We looked at the feather closely 🪶 and the question arose how this thin material can be so flexible? We were holding the seed pot in our hands and admired the whirling shape. On the way back we decided to award us with an ice cream at the Raffels Marina bistro, only a few meters next to the check point. Enjoying our refreshing treats we talked once more about how the pandemic was impacting the mental health of our society. We all were noticing a stagnation of human interconnections. Of course – through the necessary pandemic measures we all had to pause to connect and interact with other humans, but although now with most of the restrictions ceased, it’s hard to fully open up again. How can we heal? And can we even grow on this challenge.
To find stability in edge times Tuyen is coaching people to create a positive change in this world. She observes that during this period of recovery, many of us are now motivated to find renewed ways of connection, either to ourselves, our family, friends, community or the world. Some are jumping straight back in, filling up their calendars and booking holidays, while others are cautiously adjusting and processing the changes. There is no one right or wrong way to step away from the edge, and it is up to our own individual self to discover our own needs and have the courage to find what’s meaningful, even if it’s not #trending.
I looked at the feather under microscope. The single barbule interconnecting with each other to stabilizing the structure. Small hooks are hugging the neighbors. Perhaps this structure should remind us how we should interact with each other after this pandemic.
Microscope pictures with photo modeling.