It’s absolutely amazing what has been done with such a small island in 45 years. The planning and organisation required to make it all work, and work so successfully, is just mind-boggling. Today was the first time I’d seen anything resembling a military presence too. Even then, even though areas were pointed out and I saw a lot of ‘restricted area’ signs, the only military personnel I saw apart from the guards at gates were National Service boys just finished their basic training and waiting at a bus stop. There are highways that can be turned into airfield within an hour or two. What a clever use of space.
We were told a story about two brothers who built a house in 1937. When the Japanese came, the house was bombed. One brother died during the Japanese occupation, the other survived to return to the house and witness the destruction of his home. He demolished the house and built a garden that showed 101 ways to behave well. The garden also included the ten gates of hell. The garden has pretty much been abandoned now and is slowly decaying. They’re trying to find sponsors to provide funding for the upkeep.
At one point I stood at the water’s edge and looked over the sea to another country. I’ve never done that before. In Australia, everywhere you look, there’s more Australia. To know that the land you’re looking at belongs to someone else with different rules and regulations, language and culture emphasised the transitory nature of life.
|British barracks, Changi.|