More than thirty years ago I arrived in Singapore on a passenger ship coming from Australia.
I was very young and driven by a restless spirit, by curiosity and various other urges, I was travelling round the world as something between a hippy and a gentleman adventurer in the English tradition.
And ny first love in the Far East was in fact Singapore, the city of the lion, still the centre of the sea-traffic which linked the four points of the compass. The harbour, teeming with Malay "prahu", junks, old Liberty boats and a colourful selection of other vessels, welcomed us.
Singapore is a cosmopolitan city set on a complex of islands and islets on the very tip of the Malacca peninsula. An aggressive Chinatown with its brightly coloured markets breathing odours of spices and sandal-wood, its Hindu temples, its mosques and pagodas; a place regularly struck by hot, damp monsoon weather which pours torrents of rain on the city, flooding whole quarters, gardens and hall.
To get around the city there were just a few taxis, some horse-drawn carriages and the rick-shaws.
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Ligabue Magazine 1
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