In Barcelona

I’m falling asleep on a comfortable bed in a cozy room that has a huge window by the side, from which the moonlight is flowing into the room, making this feel like a fantastical dream come true. It’s quite a lovely setting for a travel-romance book, isn’t it?

Well yes, if not for a couple of things:

  1. The first person that we met upon arrival was a creepy guy. And I don’t mean this in a flippant ah-he’s-so-creepy kinda way. Seriously, this guy was a creep. He suddenly appeared behind us – when we were trying to open the apartment gate – and asked us, “¿Qué tal?” a couple of times while leering upon us… Before reaching out to stroke my upper arm. Gosh, this must have been the most blatant form of harassment I’ve encountered in recent years. You could tell from the start that his smile wasn’t kind or normal, though. It was creepy and terrifying. But the contact just literally caused my brain to freeze – it was fear coupled with anxiety and helplessness. I gasped and moved away, asking my friend to step back from the gate too (because I realised in retrospect how vulnerable we looked – 2 Asian girls (who might not know how to speak the language) standing helplessly at the foot of the building, cornered by the gate lol. What a rude shock, but thankfully the night got much better with a very pleasant conversation with our apartment host and her friends in the very comfortable apartment.
  2. I’ve been thinking a lot about my identity as a Singaporean and as an Asian, especially about our role and position on the global stage. From first being proud of coming from one of the most prosperous countries in Asia and repping my country in a class full of people from big metropolitan Asian cities, to feeling tiny and insignificant af in the world, and feeling lost about what makes Singapore Singapore, and then to feeling small and insignificant even among Asian states…it’s been such a whirlwind of thoughts and sentiments which I’ve still not been able to figure out. But really, being in a western country has made me question a lot about my identity, about the country’s identity and position in relation to her history, and also reminded me acutely of the reasons as to why we are the way we are. I’ll probably write more about this in my journal when I finally get there some time, but let’s just say that it’s first and foremost for survival. 

Good night.

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