We all need space

IRO prayers at a construction site in Tuas to pray for the safety of the workers
Singapore. IRO prayers at a construction site in Tuas to pray for the safety of the workers

I haven’t had much time for pause after prepping for v2 of the urban body exhibition, work, home-work, gnashing teeth over the news (say, the arts). But this photo made me. It’s instantly recognisable of the egalitarian interconnectedness that made our island–giving one another’s space is as instinctive as holding our own Truths. Our one identity is from this bowl of differentness. Not just any random mix, but one that took generations growing together.

It’s easy to maintain identity when individuals within appear much the same. Or when buildings, temples, statues remain familiar. It’s harder to maintain one by trying to remember a differentness that look distractingly like ‘others’, and a past that are hidden and obscured in buildings or things around us. What a tricky thing to negotiate.

And we’re on a tricky turn. So i hope we remember any notion of singaporean-ness we hope to crystallise comes precisely from this differentness that only flourished because each had space.  I hope we remember ‘we’ need a minimum space to flourish.

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