Brownian motion

Maybe that’s what is happening in mom’s mind. Thoughts collide randomly and spark words which don’t always join up into meaningful sentences. When they do, it is not always appropriate.

Walks in the neightbourhood have diminished after my helper was told off. Mom was too excited to see a young boy on a bicycle and somehow this brought her back in time and triggered a memory. She launched into fluent and firm advice mode – you shouldn’t ride here, you should be more careful. She must have been so pleased to be useful.

The boy’s mom showed up and was not at all pleased. She must also have been fluent when scolding my helper for not keeping my mother out of her son’s way.

I wish people could be more understanding and accepting. The boy and his mother were foreigners, not that it really matters. It could have been anyone, but I feel a little upset that the mother felt so righteous in my country. I don’t know who they are, and have no way of apologizing or explaining. Maybe she is also sorry for losing it. Maybe one day she will experience the sadness of dementia first hand.

Public Housing in Singapore

More than 80% of Singapore residents live in public housing, provided by the Housing Development Board (HDB). Over 90% of these residents own their flats on 99-year leases. In land scarce Singapore, the population is crammed close together and high-rise living is a must.

The size of each flat varies from 35-150 sqm. Strict rules govern who is allowed to purchase or rent one. Despite the close proximity however, most people do not get to know their neighbours. Maybe this is something that happens in large cities everywhere? There are plans to change this – committees are set up to encourage neighbourliness and voluntarism. In pragmatic Singapore, this is but one way to deal with the aging population who are left alone at home whilst family members go out to earn a living.

Here are some pictures of public housing I took over the years.


view from Southern Ridgemixed public and private housing

view from King George street

a new feature - green roof




Coffee and fleeing thoughts


I see an old colleague in the cafe near the office. She hasn’t been well, I heard. Getting forgetful.

I join her.

Hi, Rachel, remember me?

Oh, hi! What are you doing now? 

Same old, same old. What about you? What have you been up to these days?

Oh, I’m giving it up. I’m going to stop it all. My last position, volunteering at the hospice… It will end in two months.

Really retiring now, finally, eh? What do you really look forward to?

Er.. reading. It’s so important. To read a good book.…. Say, what are you doing nowadays?

Just the usual …. What are your plans the rest of today?

After this, I’m going to the bank. And then… I’m going home. Next week, I’m taking a holiday. 

That’s fantastic. Where are you going?

To Malaysia. Be close to nature. I find it… refreshing, really refreshing. You know, this placereally difficult to find the way. Bad design.

Yes, there’ve been a lot of changes. New shops. It doesn’t look anything like what it used to.

Yes, yes.

Look, let me not hold you back. Can I walk you back to your car? Where did you park?

The usual place. Level 2.

I was getting really concerned. There are no carparks on Level 2.

Do you remember which lift you took? Look, I’ll bring you down the lift nearer our offices. We’ll start looking there.

We found her car ten minutes later and she drove off. I looked after her with concern. What will she do? Who will look after her? She didn’t have family and lived on her own. Probably her friends will have to band together. I made a mental note to look them up.