I was back on reservist and had an interesting short conversation with one of the new friends I made there in camp. We were talking about the lack of seasons in Singapore and how that affected our sense of time. He talked about how when he was abroad, people were making plans according to seasons; taking a summer break, going skiing during the winter, visiting certain gardens in spring and so on. And in most cases, it was so stark for us to miss our catch-ups with family and friends when seasons were passing that we are extremely aware of the time that has past.
For example, as winter passes, there’s no way we can go skiing anymore until long later; so we know there are those natural deadlines for life. But in Singapore, the deadlines for work looms so much larger than other seasonal deadlines. For festivals or occasions, they are just that, and feels almost completely arbitrary with no clear sense of seasonal context. Christmas is at the end of the year but there are no snow, no coldness, no need for fireplaces or more lights to spruce up the place whilst the sun set earlier.
I found this a better way of understanding why the passage of time seem to pass so differently in Singapore than when I was overseas. It is easier for me to recall what I was doing towards the end of summer in 2012 (while I was in UK) than what happened in August of 2018. Seasons do really make so much of a different in our experience of life that we should perhaps learn to differentiate the subtle aspects of weather patterns in Singapore and get a better sense of appreciation for the passage of time we experience.
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