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Hanna Butler Journeys


SINGAPORE | Monday, 25 June 2012 | Views [1751]

I met Nisha on my last night in Singapore. She is 7 years old and her father tells me her favourite thing to do is talk. I realised this when I sat down and she asked me if I would like to borrow her umbrella, where I was from and what I would like to order.  Nisha sat down at the table with me and screamed my order to the kitchen.

Nisha like most people in Singapore has a migrant story. Her father came from South India nearly twenty years ago in search of work, so he could save to have a family and give them a better life than he could in India.

I shocked Nisha by started to speak to her with the basic Tamil words that I know. She looked at me, and looked at me again. “Tamil terima?” I repeated it, “Do you speak Tamil?”  She dropped her umbrella and asked me if I was Tamil. I replied, no, but in Tamil. And she screamed and laughed and told me she had never met a white Tamil person before.

She noticed my bra from under my sleeve and raised her eyes. I asked her if she had one too. Putting her hands on her chest and rolling her eyes, she exclaimed “No, I am just a baby!”  

Meeting people like Nisha is what makes me travel. It is hard to explain, but for me it is just the simple interactions and conversations that I love the most. I left her father’s restaurant full of greasy paratha and feeling lighter and happier,  and slightly sad about leaving Singapore. 

I will be adding more stories, particularly a behind the scenes interview with Rough Guide author Richard Lim. 

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