The Rain Tree

There’s a type of tree that’s planted all over Singapore. It’s known as the rain tree because of its iconic umbrella shape. 

Not only is it incredibly striking to look at, the sprawling canopy provides the perfect respite from the oppressive heat we experience here year-round.

It’s planted extensively throughout Singapore for this reason.

It has fast become one of my favourite trees. Not just because of the shade it provides or how beautiful it is to look at, but for the symbolic meaning it’s come to represent during this time of our lives.

Singapore herself has provided our family with the cover we’ve needed following our diversion from Hong Kong. Cover that has allowed us to reset and recalibrate.

Of course it’s not just Singapore, but many things. Our savings, for example, has given us the safety net we needed to take the risk we did.

Then there are our family and friends who have been nothing but supportive. Who have come to visit and help us move. Who have made us feel so welcome.

They, too, have acted as cover.

While we are incredibly fortunate to have the cover we do, it’s worth recognising that this canopy hasn’t grown overnight. It exists, in no small part, because of the time we have taken to nurture our roots over the years.

Of course, it’s our roots that we need to pay attention to. 

The mistake we make while looking up at the canopy above us – at the places we want to go and the things we want to achieve – is we forget to water the very ground we’re standing on. But, of course, that’s how we get there.

That’s how we really grow tall and flourish.

But nurturing our roots serves a much more important function than simply feeding us the fruits we want to eat. They also provide us with the stability we need when life’s inevitable storms hit home.

It’s our roots that prevent us from getting swept away.

It’s my wife – more than anyone or anything else – that has provided that stability for me following my own diversion from aviation.

Without her taking over the mantle of breadwinner, I wouldn’t be able to take the time to do what I am. To nurture my health and well-being – to regain the lift I need to climb skyward again.

Towards a new and exciting destination.

Let me say, to my wife – who I know will read this – just how much I love and adore you, just how grateful I am for everything you are and do. For your incredible patience and understanding – for your loving, kind-hearted nature.

You’re not just the best life partner to me, but the best mother to our two ridiculous boys. We are truly blessed to have you. 

I want to wish you a very happy Mother’s Day this Sunday.

Let me finish by extending that gratitude to all mothers everywhere (including – especially – my own extraordinary mother). Thank you for providing us with the cover we need to weather life’s storms. 

For helping us come out of them even stronger.


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A Singapore Fling

It occurs to me that I’ve gone through something of a divorce over the past year or so. Only, it’s not been to a person but a place.

Of course, there have been others. York for one. We had a few difficult years together. Then there was Oxford where I went to university. That was a nonstop party.

And I’ve certainly sowed my wild oats. I’ve traveled the world and experienced more cities I can count.

But, ultimately, Hong Kong was the girl I always came back to. There is no city in the world I know more intimately. We’ve been in a long term relationship – on and off – since I was 6 years old.

This has made the changes she’s undergone over the past few years especially painful. After we got married and had kids together everything changed. 

She became controlling. She tried to stop me from having an opinion. She even tried to stop me from seeing other people! 

In the end it was too much. I decided she wasn’t the right lady to spend the rest of my life with. So, as painful as it was, I filed for divorce.

But what are you supposed to do after such a long relationship? How are you supposed to cope? Should you jump in bed with the next city you find? Should you return to a former lover? Or, should you take some time to have a bit of fun and clear your mind?

I’ve really enjoyed my short time in Singapore so far. I think part of the reason is because I’ve come in with few expectations. Because I’ve taken a no-strings-attached approach. 

First impression are good. I’ve very much enjoyed exploring her green leafy back streets in my spare time. 

This is, incidentally, one of my favourite pastimes. Usually, before a layover, I would do an inordinate amount of research into places I want to eat. 

I would star many of these obscure eateries (often in the middle of nowhere) on google maps. Then I would create a kind of walking foodie tour by connecting the dots.

I would walk far and I would eat well.

It’s something I’ve sorely missed during the past few years of endless quarantine. So, to make up for lost time, that’s what I’ve been doing since I arrived in Singapore. 

I’m ecstatic to report that she’s an exceptional chef. 

Honestly, the relationship wouldn’t last long if she wasn’t. When it comes to cities, the best way to my heart is through my stomach!

Still, nowhere is perfect and Singapore is no exception. Her parents – namely the government – are known to be particularly heavy handed when punishing certain offenders. That may well be a flag longer term. 

With that said, the people here feel looked after for the most part. They have access to cheap affordable housing, excellent medical care and world class education.

Of course, they rinse the expats to make that possible. She ain’t a cheap lady to please! The cost of a beer is enough to make any man cry themselves to sleep. Mainly because he can’t afford to have a beer.

But back to the positive. She’s feels far more relaxed – far more family friendly – in comparison to Hong Kong. That’s certainly something I’m looking for at this stage of my life.

Although it occurs to me that maybe Singapore feels more relaxed because I am? Now that I’ve settled down, not that I’m together with my family again – after a very busy, stressful divorce.

Perhaps I’m simply projecting my feelings onto the place? 

At any rate, I don’t care. I’m enjoying myself. The last thing I want to think about is whether or not I will (or should) be here in 5 to 10 years time. We can save that particular conversation for a later date.

For now, I just want sit back, relax and enjoy this fine Singapore fling.

I’ll finish by asking you one of my all time favourite questions: what is your favourite city in the world and why? 

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You can find more of AP2’s writing here at: https://wiseandshinezine.com

You can also find him on Medium at: https://anxiouspilot2.medium.com

You can also email him directly at: anxiouspilot2@gmail.com