I was whizzing along in a taxi after work, headed for dinner with my relatives on my father’s side. I rarely meet them, but I was cheerfully happy, enough to tack an additional word meaning much the same onto my happiness.
The taxi was speeding along the bridge that goes beside the CBD. Many buildings had the same look: each floor segmented into regular rectangles, floor upon floor of more of the same, mostly lit, some not, filled with the paraphernalia of offices – desks, papers, white lighting, and people, I would imagine, but I was too far away to determine if there was, in fact, anyone inside. Once I was close enough to sneak a glimpse, and I saw people standing about, perhaps talking about some interesting thing. I imagined them living their perfect lives, arriving at work half an hour late because they earned the right to do so last night, too busy answering emails and working on something the boss wants now to bother with the window overlooking the highway, laughing and smiling with their desk neighbours over the odd joke when they need the occasional respite from the headlong rush of work work work. Friends with everyone in the office, including that girl on the next floor that you occasionally need help from for some thing or other.
The tall buildings formed the backdrop to the many cranes on the site of the integrated resort. An inverted V shaped structure was already half-built, held in place by amazingly large clamps, which reminded me of the wooden ones I would use to hold a test-tube in the laboratory. The Esplanade and the Singapore Flyer added to the prettiness, and the sense that this is where things happen, we are busily rushing forward, money is being made, we are cosmopolitan, busy people, but without the social graces yet, the papers say.
And whizzing along in the taxi, with 9 dollars to my name, but in a tailored shirt, too-long pants that gather clumsily on my shoe, a dirtied, scratched, second hand gucci bag, I thought if I belonged to a busy thriving modern city, and conjured images of New York City, and thought of Seoul, strangely.
The taxi turned into Suntec, and the road was soon bordered with white fencing and bathed in strong white light that flickered shadows on my lap as the taxi drove past. Because I visited the wrong Pan Pacific the first time round, the trip cost me a modern amount, all of 24 dollars.