(My application to a publication that I wanted to share with all of youuu) xo
This is a quick feature about the cities that I’ve grown up in and grown to love, and how they encompass Asia, yet are so distinct.
Singapore: Having lived here a total of less than five years, I’m hardly a proper “Singaporean”. But what I am is a semi-tourist, and I relish in that. The crown jewel of the skyline is the Marina Bay district, where the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort and casino stand proudly atop the Central Business District. With world-class restaurants, food culture and shopping found all over the island, Singapore provides South-east Asian hospitality in an incredibly “Westernized” part of Asia.
GuangZhou/HongKong: The White Man’s gateway into the rest of China was the Pearl of the Orient. Canton was the first point of trading that Europeans had with the Chinese and still the culture of business and efficiency flourishes. From the street names, the colonial buildings and ever-prevalent jockey clubs (Hong Kong hosted the equestrians in the 2008 Beijing Olympics), there are many traces of British influence, yet blended with the “take-no-prisoners” mentality that the Cantonese live by. Also, HK is great for nights out: Lan Kwai Fong provides an entire hill’s worth of lounges, bars, nightclubs and pubs. For a reasonable price you can get a breathtaking view of the Central district (amazing dimsum not guaranteed after lunch hour).
Shanghai: “Paris of the East,” and indeed it is. Take a walk down Huaihai Road and for a second, you can believe that you’re walking under the platane communs in Paris. It doesn’t help that throughout downtown Shanghai, there are entire areas that look just like Europe. There are endless Instagram and #ootd opportunities, in Xintiandi, for instance. Also… Shanghainese food. An entire area is dedicated to xiaolongbaos—essentially soup filled pork bun delicacies that propelled an Asian restaurant to Michelin star status.
As someone who has never had a proper home for essentially their entire lives, its odd that bustling London provides an unparalleled serenity. But though London might be home now, before that will always come Asia.