I am writing this from my new house which is still in the process of becoming a true home. My belongings are partially unpacked, some furnishings and carpentry still yet to arrive, but it is enough for me right now.
Just like my cat who is still coming to terms with the new house, I am adjusting to the neighbourhood and getting my bearings right. It isn’t a completely alien area for me as I spent some years living in the same town as a teenager, but the Singaporean pace of urban change requires a reorientation. As I take my walk through the town, I discover new developments being built on what I remember as vast open patches of grass. Buildings don’t look the same way as I last visited them, and it seems like the edges of the town has been pushed out further since I last lived in this town. I didn’t even move to another country and it is already taking me a while to adjust. I also find myself literally figuring out the neighbourhood, by which I mean drawing mental figures, maps and diagrams in my head to remember the new routes and facilities in the area.
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Taking long walks through the city have started to become a thing for me over the last few months. Some of these walks are pre-planned with a route in mind but there are some that unfolds with fate as I step out of my front door.
Not too long ago, I put on my shoes and took one such walk where the roads to walk and turns to make were decided in the moment. It led me to landscaped paths, ten-lane road junctions, a ‘rural farmway’, wild dogs & otters, and beautiful water bodies. I am starting to wonder what I will discover as I walk on other routes across different parts of the island.
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Late in October, I shared to a small group of people and briefly on my IG story that I was going to start working on a new project to support new talent and ideas for a better city. The impetus for this comes from a reflective moment from earlier this year where Mizah and I wondered about our contribution to the city beyond client work, beyond our companies, and beyond our own lives. We know that there are many other issues in our city that need community-powered solutions, and while Mizah and I never managed to shape this thought into reality together, it has become one of my personal goals to continue working on it.
For a start, this personal project of mine will focus on offering educational bursaries and mentorship to tertiary students who are pursuing their interests in community-driven solutions to our urban issues. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done and I will be providing updates as they are available.
To read more about the project and find out how you can help, head over to adibjalal.com/bettercity/
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That’s all for this month. You may notice that I’ve reshuffled some stuff on the website and a more coherent archive of recent Dispatches now sit within the site itself. There are still some weirdness in there but just I am figuring out this new physical place of mine, I will be getting to sorting that digital place in the next month as well.
Till the next time, be kind to yourself.