“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1,5a (NLT)
A chapter in my life will be closed soon – I have just returned from the ICA (Immigration and Checkpoints Authority) office here in Singapore. I want to try to renew my Singaporean Permanent Residence status if I can – earlier, I successfully renewed my Indonesian identity card and passport and I want to hold on to my Singaporean PR if possible. However, the lady at the counter said that because I’m no longer employed in Singapore, I will not be able to renew it. Unfortunately I don’t have the piece of paper that is required to surrender my PR, so I will arrange it when I’m back in Adelaide, and post the necessary documents to the Singaporean High Commission in Canberra. The scripture from Ecclesiastes suddenly came to life – it’s time for me to scatter the stones that I gathered in the past. It’s just natural that we want to keep on holding on to the things that we have built or gathered, but sometimes, we have to learn to let go to. It’s more like a psychological closure because I can always work back in Singapore and apply for an Employment Pass again. I will also be able to withdraw the fund that I have in my CPF (Singaporean superannuation) so I can at least pay off my credit card debt and have some to buy a car, or do some stuff around the house. Ah well, life is all about progress, eh? *sigh*.
On a separate note, it feels quite weird to be back in Singapore and revisit the area that I used to hang around in. In 2004 when I visited Singapore, I stayed with my friends Bev and Jason who live around Geylang, so I didn’t visit the Dhoby Ghaut area. In 2005, I stayed with my friend Sjoerd, who lived in Emerald Garden, so again, there was no reason for me to walk around in Dhoby Ghaut. This time round, I don’t want to bug anybody – Sjoerd has since moved back to Amsterdam as well. At the moment, I’m staying in a no-frills hotel called “Strand Hotel” in Bencoolen Street – very central location (close to MRT stations, Raffles City, Orchard Road), and cheap by Singaporean standard, but don’t expect good service. The lady at the front desk wanted me to settle rightaway for the three nights – and bemusedly I also observed the ‘uncle’, who seems to own the place, gossiped with the doormen about the guests who came through – two dodgy-looking Filipino ladies who came in after three gentlemen – one white guy, two Indians. They also provided their own commentaries to three Indians who dressed up as if they were gangstas from Queens. The room itself is okay – clean, and spacious for the price, so if you plan to come to Singapore with a limited budget, you may want to check the hotel out.
Yesterday, I had lunch with Lucia, Evelyn, Karen, Siska, and Paulus, my friends from Citibank days. It was good to catch up with them and shared about life experience. Evelyn is still the same as ever, and well, she teamed really well with Lucia in being my matchmaking and love-advisor ‘aunties’. 😆 Paulus may be coming to Adelaide to move with his family, and Lucia has just recently bought an apartment in Sydney which she has rented soon after. Really smart move, I think – considering that the rental market is quite tight in Australia at the moment.
When lunch finished, Lucia, Evelyn and I shared more about our life experience over coffee – about my childhood, Lucia’s childhood and Evelyn’s experience with the kids. I really enjoyed the chat as I was able to very open in my discussions with them. I have learned to be much more open this year compared to the previous years when I would clam up and store everything inside.
After the prolonged lunch, I raced to Cempaka Mas to get more DVDs (Ashleigh, guess what I found!!! The DVDs of the second season of ‘Ghost Whisperer’ and the DVDs of the first season of Heroes!!) and on to Kelapa Gading Mall to get more shirts. In the evening, I had dinner with Anton because Lily had cooked ‘Nasi kuning‘. Again, I had the opportunity to reminisce about good old days in Citibank … a life chapter that I closed in 2002. Lily and Anton have three sons now – Daniel, Andrew (who is VERY boisterous and silly – a bit like Lily, she said it herself!), and Ryan.
It was already pretty late when we finished and I was dead tired, so after a quick shower, I finished packing and then went to sleep quickly … I had to get up at 5.30 this morning to go to the airport for my 9.15am flight … and well, you know the rest …
… and life goes on!