Diaspora Dockyard

The idea of a hegemonic post-colonial South Asia ruptures when the post-colonial diaspora becomes the refuge for the unwanted minorities such as the Bhojpuri speaker in Nepal or the Ahmadiyya in SE Asia. The migrant worker finds anchor in the diaspora as the margins of the homeland dissolve, and the shore of the diaspora becomes the dockyard.

Post Pandemic Check-In

As a professional PhD researcher who thinks, reads, writes, and interviews airport labor and automation for a living in Singapore over the past 1.5years across SE Asia and Gulf, it was surreal to observe the check in process at Changi T3 behind the glass screen with a masked-up airport worker and serpentine lines of passengers.

The process was as if the pandemic did not happen as the process was the same, although there was a shorter pre verified line where the passenger submits documents online 36 hours in advance. The approval comes in just prior to the check in beginning.

It was great to enter an airport after 16 months to drop off a kind soul who was heading for a family reunion after 30 months.

Pandemic immobility is real, but it was great seeing Changi again.

Hope to fly in July.


At the Jewel, for the first time


Public transport buses become a migrant sonic scape with bangla, tamil and punjabi music leaking out of earphones as these spaces map aspirations as much as heartache. Some of these bus rides from the little india district to the dorms take up to 90 minutes.

The last row of seats are often the preferred choice where video calls to back home are made, maximising time on an off day where each minute is valued.


Shawrma at Muscat St, Singapore: Eid 2022

Objects such as this tissue paper box couched in a glitzy decorative cover brings me back to my childhood in Muscat where restaurants such as Omar Khayyam in Ruwi or Golden Spoon in Al Khuwair used to have such tissue boxes.

This particular artefact was found at Tabbouleh, a Lebanese place at Arab St in Singapore on Eid Eve. The coffee and Kunefe brought me back to the aromas of Turkish House in Al Khuwair in my home town.

Bayt and Watan is sometimes a bite of kunafa, which is my favorite dessert of a time which was dear.

Exile is a state of mind for a Desi Khaleeji. The azaan post iftar, the last one before Eid in Singapore is always special, twice in two years.

This place was at Muscat St, a geographical irony, with a mural of a dhow and the Omani Flag.


The Gulf Style Tissue Paper Box