The Speed of Change

Three years and three months in Singapore and I’m still getting used to the speed of change here in this country. I have complained in the past about how disorientating and transient it feels. Coming from a sleepy island background that is run by an equally laidback and inefficient government, rapid physical and environmental change is not something I’m used to.

I came back from Manchester last week after a month-long holiday. I have not been in the UK for three years, and naturally, things have changed. A friend excitedly told me to visit the Manchester Central Library. “Remember the time you left it was cordoned off? Well, they’ve just opened this year!” I couldn’t believe my ears. It really has taken that long. “Remember the refectory?” She continued. “The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons is now open!” Antony Gormley’s sculpture is also still at Manchester Art Gallery. I know what permanent exhibition really means now.

In contrast, in that one month that I was gone from Singapore, three major things have changed. The Mirana Bakery near Simei MRT has closed, renovated and re-opened for business. I surprised to see the shop completely revamped as I stepped out of the train! I also noticed a new announcement in the MRT stations. It is a loop message in four languages warning commuters to be careful on escalators. And of course, the Telok Ayer Performing Arts Centre (TAPAC) near my office has been completely bulldozed to the ground. A month ago, work demolition had only begun on one building.

Conclusion: Things might be moving faster than I want them to. But I guess life goes on, so I’ll have to get a move on.

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