We're always arriving somewhere

Painting of a house by the sea
Cabin of the Customs Watch, 1882, Claude Monet


Dear Reader,

I have never really been one for saying goodbyes. This penultimate week of being in Singapore has been a blitz of activity, as I’ve been going from one dinner to the next in an effort to see everybody before I leave. Yet, every time I meet someone, I can’t help but think about the moment when we ultimately have to leave each other. I try as hard as possible to draw out each second, to squeeze a minute beyond its limit, to put off saying farewell for as long as possible.

But it does come. And each time, I am never ready for it. Even if we had all the time in the world, will we ever be ready to say goodbye to somebody?

I try to think about it this way: there are some characters in my story that I have yet to meet. Future friends, partners, even children and grandchildren perhaps, all lined up waiting for me in the subsequent chapters of this narrative. Some may appear late; some may not even exist right now; some may surprise me close to the very end.

For now, my time at Ethos has been a wonderful one. How could I have known that I’d meet this dazzling cast of characters, with whom I already share so much? I couldn’t have imagined that my writing would find me regular pen pals: thank you so much to those who reached out to me in my previous letters. In this way, our stories intertwine – in this way, we have all unknowingly played our role in each other’s stories.


(From November 21, 2020)