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Harriet and I went on a three week holiday to France from the 8th – 29th May 2007. On the way over to France, we stopped off in Singapore for two days.
I have a Brain Injury website that connects hundreds of Brain Injured people around the world. The dominant theme of the Brain Injury Community is: ‘Becoming a Brain Injury Thriver and not just Survivor’.
I personally went through a life changing situation. In December 1995, I sustained a severe brain injury by falling off a boogie-board in shallow surf at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia. Consequently I was in a coma for four weeks, confined in hospital for six months, had to learn everything all over again. These things included:
- Walking, talking and eating solid food again
- Get my brain back together from a very scrambled state and learn to live with a new me
- Lost a lot of intuitive ability to discern what other people are saying ….. although that has largely come back now
- I cannot drive twenty three years (1995-2019) out from my accident …. but I have learnt to drive on the Internet …. to go around the world in a few minutes and see hundreds of people at the same time
At the moment these are my continuing challenges:
My balance is still a bit out at the moment this means:
- I cannot ride a bicycle now ….. Used to ride for kilometres when I had one when I was younger. I would now fall off a bicycle from a lack of balance
- I have to be careful in walking up narrow paths
- I have to come down backwards still on steep steps at home whilst holding onto the banister
- My mind has slowed right down …. It is hard to take initiative for one’s life and make clear decisions. The result of this for me, is that my wife Harriet now to manages all the finances on a day to day basis.
I sent out a wonderful story on the theme of ‘Becoming a Brain Injury Thriver and not just Survivor’. I had an e-mail response from Takalah Tan in Singapore. Several years earlier, I had read Takalah’s story on a City News website he had sent me. I then had another reply from him in April. I wrote back to Takalah and said that Harriet and I would be stopping over for a day in Singapore in early May on an overseas holiday trip to France in May. I would like to catch up with him when we there. He wrote back and said that when we got to Singapore, he would like to connect with me and here was his mobile phone number. He would come to our hotel and take us out to lunch.
We were staying at The Peninsula Excelsior Hotel. See the website at:
We spent the morning walking around Singapore and looking at the history and some of the old buildings from the 1800’s when Singapore had been started as a city. See the photographs and words below.
Raffles: Raffles Hotel is one of Singapore’s most graceful landmarks. This luxury Singapore hotel celebrates a tradition of unwavering service excellence spanning more than 125 years.Immortalized in the novels of Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling, Raffles Hotel, Singapore’s colonial-styled architecture and lush tropical gardens exude an atmosphere of timeless elegance. This luxurious Singapore hotel lies in the heart of the city, in close proximity to the banking and financial districts, Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre (SICEC), as well as leisure attractions including the casino at Marina Bay; the cultural sights of Arab Street and Chinatown and shopping at Raffles City shopping mall and Orchard Road shopping belt.
Singapore City: Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island city-state in Southeast Asia. It lies one degree north of the equator, at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, with Indonesia’s Riau Islands to the south and Peninsular Malaysia to the north. Singapore’s territory consists of one main island along with 62 other islets. Since independence, extensive land reclamation has increased its total size by 23%. The country is known for its transition from a developing to a developed one in a single generation under the leadership of its founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Photos of Singapore City:
Takalah came at 11.00 a.m. in the morning. It was a strange experience in actually seeing him in actuality versus only seeing him on a website photograph. He took us out to his district or community on Singapore’s very efficient train system. We went to a communal restaurant where Takalah went around the various restaurant owners introducing us in a very personal way as his Australian friends. It was interesting to us as Australians to see how Singapore is very different to many Western cities. It is the mixing of an Eastern culture (Chinese) with a Western Culture. An Eastern culture focuses more on the family and the community (Cooperative) whereas Western Culture is highly individualized (Competitive and Corporate).
Singapore is a nation where the East is meeting the West and has a unique city of contrasts …… the past is retained and the West is encouraged. I saw this clearly when I was reading the freely available magazine ‘Voices of Central Singapore’ and I read on the one page article by Zainudim Nordin, mayor of Central Singapore District when he wrote ‘What have You Done For Your Neighbor Lately?’
He says ‘I think we can all agree that having a cohesive communal society is one of the greatest strengths a nation can have …… in a community we will work together for a common goal. We can put aside our differences and fulfill our role as active citizens. Working towards a common good also teaches cooperation, understanding and the ability to listen to others. It also helps to resolve conflicts. Be a volunteer: It could be your contribution towards building a united and resilient community, the basic building block of a cohesive and strong Singapore.’
The Government of Singapore has seen Singapore as a cohesive community with the whole city broken up into interconnecting cohesive communities. Each community was to work towards the common good of the community. Each community had its own residential, leisure, shopping and transport hub. Each community had an interconnecting transport system ….. the train system which connected each community with the next.
We even caught the train out to where Takalah lived in a residential complex at Woodlands with his mother and brother.
Scenes in walking to Takalah’s residential complex :
Takalah took us out to his community to the communal restaurant and the communal shopping centre (things are so cheap in Singapore compared to Australia where I come from) and the general layout of the community, we saw this COMMUNAL MODEL being well illustrated.
I wanted to buy a small portable seat I could sit on when resting, so Takalah took us out to his communal shopping centre.
We even caught the train out to where he lived in a residential complex with his mother in Woodlands. We walked up to his apartment block and caught the lift right up on one of the upper levels of the block (13th level). See the photographs below.