Diversity 101

Speaking of the enormously appealing diversity of Singapore, I stumbled into some today.  In a mall, of all places.

Out to buy some sports gear as a family, we heard music playing on the ground floor of Novena Shopping Center.  The musician in me was easily lured, and while the others stayed upstairs to grab some lunch, I bounded down the escalator, iPhone in hand, bee-lining it toward the source. It was traditional Cambodian music being performed live with a troupe of, you guessed it, traditional Cambodian dancers. This is what I captured:

Just think: this is your run-of-the-mill mall on an average hum-drum Saturday of your typical ho-hum week.

The Cambodian number finished to make way for the Thai troupe.  And this is what I captured:

I weaseled my way closer to get still shots of these elegant dancers.  I especially wanted a close-up of their impossibly delicate hands with those hallmark curved fingers, maybe a well-lit angle of their polished faces, those eyes dipped low, the permanently beguiling smile, but I never go it. Because as soon as I got close enough to snap that perfect shot of dancer #3, she slinked down off the performance platform and took my hand, whispering, “Come dance, Madame?”

So while my kids shrunk in a far corner of the upper mezzanine, mortified by their Mom —“You leave her alone for two minutes, and look what you get,” muttered Dalton with half a smile—this is what my husband captured:

You’ll think I’m over-romanticizing, but honestly, I cannot step through the door into this city without happening upon all sorts of encounters just like this.  Granted, the Subway sandwich franchise you see in these shots betrays how westernized, sanitized, and, for some tastes, neutralized Singapore seems. “Asia lite”, some call it.  Having now tasted a fair amount of “Asia-dense” to make the comparison, I guess I have to concede. There is some truth to that claim.

But if in one banal mall stop I can get my teenaged sons their 6″ Chicken Bacon Ranches and I can kick up bit of Thai dust with the likes of these lovely artists, I am content to accept a whole lot of Asia lite.


© Melissa Dalton-Bradford and melissadaltonbradford.wordpress.com, 2012.  This work (text and images) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. . . which means, as long you’re not selling it, you’re welcome to share, but please remember to give me a link and mention my name.

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