The Local Tourist

When people go on holiday and leave their country, you usually see on their faces a broad and beautiful smile, the further they are from work, the lighter their burden, the more radiant their faces.

Whether it be in London, Brisbane, Hong Kong or Singapore, it was the same thing. I felt it acutely as a young child in the 1990s, when I experienced the soaring heights of excitment and the plunging depths of despair all on a school day-trip to neighbouring Malaysia.

Then it dawned on me, the only people who seemed excited and delighted to be there were tourist. The locals had a jaded, tired, weary look on their faces. I was so excited about the Tube in London (I’m stupid like that), the CityCat in Brisbane, the minibus in Hong Kong but the locals just saw it as transport. Back in Singapore, the roles were reversed.

City Cat BrisbaneThe CityCat in Brisbane

IMG_2290Arsenal Stadium along the London Tube

IMG_6306Minibus in Hong Kong

But why should work get us down? Why should the dull, drab of monotony cleave the excitement and wonder from our lives? Why should we let stress consume us?

I use this blog as a way of reminding myself to live. Life should not be about a broken spirit with sporadic periods of escape… it must be more than skimming listicles on the web, looking at curated social media profiles, getting wasted to be happy… It is more than following routines and forgetting reality. Regardless of what different people see the meaning of life as, one thing doesn’t change – we are all merely on a brief sojourn, journeyers and explorers on limited time.

Living and working in a place doesn’t mean the end of exploration, it doesn’t mean that we give in to the metaphorical rat race and channel our lives into climbing the totem pole, it doesn’t mean that we die to life that is happening all around us. Traveling the world only expands our horizons when we open our eyes, and yet both we and the the places we live in contain so many worlds.

You can explore by reading and live a thousand lives instead of just the one; you explore by taking pictures and through it see reality in different ways; you can explore by writing and immersing yourself in a world of your creation; you can explore by sitting quietly watching the world go by, or sit crossed legged, meditating. There are to many ways to explore the world, and this blog is just one way for me (and hopefully you).

If millions of tourist can see the beauty of this city I live in, then there surely must be something that I can see it and what better way then to be an explorer and to see this country through the eyes of a tourist. As a local, I get to see more, I get to peer into the soul of the place. This is especially pertinent in Singapore where we have quite something but no time, mood and energy to appreciate anything; where we know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

You don’t have to go far away for a holiday, or to be refreshed.

Just open your eyes.

Click here for an instagram geotag map of locations on this blog.

Ethical Declaration
The contents on this blog have never and will never by written in exchange for gifts or remuneration of any sort. Every post is based on my own experiences and represent my own impressions of the topic written.

Note on Grammar
These articles were written in between pockets of time so I have focused more on content than grammar. I will go through each article and make amendments if time permits in the future.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Hello! Nice concept of having a blog that helps locals see Singapore in a new light! I think many locals are too caught up in the corporate rat race that they fail to see the beauty of Singapore as tourists see it. Indeed, I am guilty of that myself. When I was overseas last year for an exchange programme, many of the people there told me that they had been to Singapore and how they had enjoyed it. Mentally I was thinking to myself, “Singapore got anything interesting meh?” Lol

    1. Hi mytravelnation, great to hear from you, hope you enjoy the blog and have found cool stuff around Sg since!

  2. huiyingk says:

    I agree! So long as we keep our eyes and heart open, anywhere can be an exciting place. I often feel like a tourist in Singapore despite growing up here! 🙂 Thanks for putting this in perspective and reminding your readers..

    1. Hi Huiying, Cheers 🙂

  3. darylloy says:

    Hey! It’s really great that you’ve put up this blog that reminds us locals about the really little things and places that make us so Singaporean. Thanks for the great reads!

    1. Hi Daryl, thanks for reading!

  4. citramanica says:

    “You don’t have to go far away for a holiday, or to be refreshed”… I like it!

  5. Raymond says:

    Hi I am a teacher. May I download and print 2 photos from your website for use at my school’s heritage gallery? Do let me know. Appreciate it very much. Thank you.

    1. Hi Raymond, please feel free.

      1. Raymond says:

        Thank you so much! We will acknowledge the source of the photographs.

  6. Stella Kon says:

    Hi zach.. please give me your email contact? We are producing a musical on lim b k and your article is the best summary I’ve ever seen. We seek Permission to use it. I am not good with face book.. please email.
    Best wishes
    Stella Kon

    1. Hi Stella, I got a message from Sing Yuen, on how to contact you privately. Will message you privately. Best Zach

  7. Aldrin Tee says:

    Hi there! I super love your website! I’m giving some presentations and I’m wondering if I can use your website! Can I get in touch with you to chat more? Thank you! =) Hope all is well in Sweden!

    1. Hi Aldrin, yes please feel free. My email is Stay safe in these times 🙂

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