When I was staying with Geraldine in her dorm near King's Cross Station, I told the dude in the lift that I was from Singapore, and he immediately started gushing about Singapore Airlines, saying that it was the best, kissing his fingers in the way that an Italian chef does when something's absolutely delicious. I love Singapore Airlines, haha, and I was very touched.
When I was in Edinburgh with Christabel and told her friend that I was also from Singapore, he was all like, "Awww, I love Singapore, it's so awesome!" and talked about how he had visited recently and drank "like, three bubble teas a day". Well, he'd probably love Taiwan way more if he liked our bubble tea, but I was very flattered all the same.
When my Oxford host mother told me that the girls, Sasha and Zoe, absolutely loved coming to Singapore, I was pleasantly taken aback. Here they were, in bloody beautiful Oxfordshire, with their twelfth-century buildlings and horses and sheep and everything beautiful, living in a house with a vineyard, and they loved Singapore? Well, they aren't the kind to appreciate "old stuff" - pity, really - but having someone from a place so beautiful say they loved Singapore really made me look at my country with a different set of lenses.
When my cousin who moved from Penang to Australia talks about coming to Singapore for his grad trip and loving the Chinese food and USS, I'm like, are you kidding?! You're from Penang, practically the Jerusalem of local food (OHMYGOODNESS THE CHAR KUAY TEOW), and Australia has amazing AMAZING theme parks, and you're thinking about coming to Singapore? But whatever he sees in my little city, I'm very touched.
When Francheska, who moved here to teach without ever having been to Asia previously, says she loves Singapore and loves the hawker centre food, I'm just amazed. She went to Bali, Cambodia and other places around the region recently, and from what I see of her pictures, she loved it. And I love that she loved it. I love that she's here. Adjusting to Asia all of a sudden isn't easy, but she loves it.
And I love Singapore, too, with all its big red flaws and little white glimmers of hope. There are a lot of international students at SOT right now and most don't really like the food and hate the weather and the hostel's not exactly ideal, but they're here, and I hope they'll love Singapore in time to come and explore all we have to offer - good and bad.