It's not you, it's me.
You have everything one could wish for. My jaw drops at the sight of your curves, your impressive stature, your pride. Every last one of your buildings creates a yearning for more understanding, an admiration for what you are capable of, a desire to look down from their peaks. They are all so impressive, but few are beautiful. My friends admire you, you are 'like Las Vegas on steroids.' At night especially, I want to fall in love with you – the choreography of lights, your utter control of the horizon in all directions. You seduce us all with alluring spectacles, lasers of youth and hope projecting hundreds of meters down onto a screen of diffused water particles. You woo us with bountiful beautiful bubbles, floating freely toward their destiny. But those within our reach disappear elusively upon touch.
It's not you, it's me. I couldn't wish for more diverse shopping opportunities. A sweaty night in Little India seems to match my vague notion of a common scene in Mumbai – a large hall, each unending alley leading me past enticing and scary food options, many presented in make-shift fashion. Your mango lassi gives me a new burst energy, and how often does Antonio get to buy a whole coconut with a straw for less than $2? Aggressive vendors trying to sell me vegetables, jewelry, skewers of meat. Like molasses, we wrestle our way through the humidity and racks of clothes to find our way out. You have a beautiful Chinatown, too, a basement fish market with live eels being clubbed to death and frogs being gutted in front of my eyes. You also have malls more Western than any Westerners could dream of. I can window-shop from a gondola as I paddle through the stream that flows through your very being.
It's not you, it's me. You are no longer a garden city, but a city within a garden. As if that weren't enough, you have another island for a playground. You have thought of everything: cable cars, beaches with bars, volleyball courts, ziplines, waterslides, an aquarium, a discovery jungle walkway, a golf course, an underwater world, a fort, Gaudi-esque fountains, photogenic parrots, human-friendly snakes, dolphins, an Irish Café and Universal Studios Singapore. Relaxing on your fine sand, we watch the freight ships flock to your harbor, an average of one every 7.5 minutes. No words could possibly describe your beautiful Sentosa. How could I resist?
You strive to be the best at everything. But what drives you? I know your previous relationships have been messy. The Brits and Dutch handed you back and forth like a trophy. A large part of you died at the hands of a ruthless Japan. When things seemed to be looking up, your arranged marriage with Malaysia went to pot after two years. You have come into your own, you can hold your own. But at what price? I don't like how many men you keep wrapped around your finger, full-time for two years, then string them along for another ten. At the push of a button you would have 400,000 young men at your immediate disposal. You rehearse flight maneuvers in Arizona because you have only a few dozen square miles of your own airspace. You test your artillery in Oklahoma out of fear that one stray missile might wipe out half of your precious country. You get only the best: German tanks, Swedish submarines. And those who want only the best come to you: you build 70% of the world's oil riggs, even though you have no oil of your own. Shell comes to you to refine billions of liters of oil every day, even though you have no oil of your own.
It's not you, it's me. You have treated me right, Singapore, but I can't bring myself to love you. You make me miss Japan, you make me miss my home.