When traveling, sometimes you can learn and appreciate the local culture simply by observing the locals go about their daily lives and compare what you see with what you know from your own culture or background.
It was still quite early on Sunday morning in Chinatown Singapore when we walked around to explore the neighborhood. Many of the stores were still closed, but there were some people already walking around. Some were tourists as we could tell from their cameras and backpacks that they carried (just like us). But others you could tell were locals — some looked like they lived in the neighborhood and simply were going out for a walk in the neighborhood.
As I was waiting for Kristi to go to restroom at one place, I noticed several elderly Singaporeans sitting around on the bench in front of a shopping building. Some were dressed like they were out for exercising (in shorts, polo shirt, and wearing sneakers). Others were simply wearing casual clothes and sandals, very relaxed. This scenery reminded me to home in Indonesia, specifically to my late grandfather, my dad, and my uncle, who would go out for a morning walk in the neighborhood or get up early to join a group doing some exercise program. It’s partly to start the day right with some healthy activities, but it’s also to socialize and meet friends or neighbors. I thought it’s interesting to compare this to other cultures — elsewhere people would get together frequently to play games, having coffee or meal together, or simply just hanging out and watch life goes by; different activities, but with the common idea of sharing life with friends. In a way, it’s a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of living in cities.