I’m not a sporty person – although I’m relatively au-fait with the EPL – and walking is my token effort in the search for stamina. Actually, I like walking; city streets, country dales, miserably cold English beaches and the city/tree-scape that comprises Singapore. I conquer Mount Faber most weekends and huffing up the 324 steps  – ok! so it’s only a small hill –  it’s a lesson in local flora and a valuable reminder of the importance of basic good manners as the starting point to building relationships.

My five foot two inches means there’s always room to pass me in either direction but I’m battle-scarred from being constantly run over by groups of self-absorbed individuals who seem to feel that theirs, by virtue of number or decibels, is the right of way. And if that isn’t enough, rare is the one who makes eye contact or offers a greeting even when we may be the only people within sight and about to pass in close and sweaty proximity.

In multi-ethnic Singapore, everyone – Indian, Chinese and Malay –  is equally culpable although I am a little pleased to report that the greatest likelihood of being “seen” and given space comes from two distinct groups; older Singaporeans and the kindred expat souls seeking space and harmony. With a nod we share the wonders of another sunny day in Singapore; just a butterfly touch in terms of relationships but a basic building block in any event.

So, I’m on a mission to change the world on Mount Faber – to teach the loudest and the most spatially challenged  – to share their space and actually notice what’s around them.  Heavens! If they can’t see the people, what hope for the flowers!!!

On the home stretch,  belief in humanity is restored as the stewards outside the SOKA building beam a smile from fifty paces and each  bid me good morning. They make my day – and certainly we have laid some foundation for mutual understanding – now I just wish they shared my walks !