Monday, March 25, 2019

Singapore Sunshine: Meet-ups and Reunions

Apart from an enjoyable workshop in Singapore last week, meeting new friends, visiting libraries and conversing with librarians from different International Baccalaureate (IB) schools in the Asia Pacific, I had a wonderful time meeting storytellers and a Filipino Librarian there. Plus, I got lost and found myself being adopted by a Filipino family for 30 minutes.

Here is how it all went.

Sheila Wee of the Singapore Association of Storytellers couldn't make it to our meet up in her place. I was supposed to visit her and join in the weekly story circle of the group hosted by a member. But, she set-up Panna Kintalil and Swee Yean to meet me. We had dinner at a mall in Tong Baru and for an hour and a half, touched based, shared life stories and compared notes on the status of storytelling in our respective countries.

I was impressed at the political will and the effort that the association has taken in promoting and advocating storytelling. They have professionalized the art form and defined that reading aloud is not storytelling. Definitely, I will be back in Singapore to join them in another storytelling event or festival. This I promised myself.

I planned to meet a librarian friend who works in the National Gallery, but our schedules just did not allow it. Instead, I found myself en route to the National Gallery on my last night in Singapore to have dinner with Von Totanes, the Filipino Librarian. Von is on leave and having a good time. Who would have thought we would meet in Singapore in all places? Apparently, the country holds a special place in our hearts but, for different reasons.

An hour early, before meeting Von, I actually got off on the wrong bus stop. The family waiting at the same stop I got off at went up to me and asked if I am a Filipino. I said yes and I knew they were too. Glorian and Miguel, with their daughter helped me find my way to the correct train station. We had a good chat about life back home, the high cost of living in Singapore and reasons to go back and visit the country and the motherland once in a while. We were the only ones talking in loud voices in the bus. Of course, they brought me to Orchard Road where I could get good bargains for pasalubongs and sent me off to the right train station. 

Some plans do not always go as expected. But the journey turned out to be insightful and life affirming as well.

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