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One doesn’t need to own a house in a city, to call it home.

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Akshobh Giridharadas

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Geopolitics & Diplomacy at Fletcher School, Tufts | Op-Ed Writer |TEDx speaker | Panel Moderator| Thought Leadership.

July 1st 2010 was just another Thursday.

It didn’t really mean too much for too many people. But for me, it was monumental as I embarked on a one way Singapore Airlines ticket to start my first job with then sports broadcasters ESPN STAR Sports and subsequently make Singapore home. Recently I narrated to friends, that on that very flight, I broke into conversation with a Singaporean co-passenger and I remembered asking him “Just how can I go about securing a permanent residence”? And funnily enough, seven years later, I still remain just as befuddled as I do not know the answer. While being a ‘permanent resident’ eluded me, safe to say I remained a proud ‘resident’ with memories & friends that will remain ‘permanent’. While technology enables you to keep in touch with those you have left behind, I suppose the hardest unspoken part about leaving a place — is remembering how you have evolved from the person you were when you first arrived to that person you are now. And perhaps, how you’re never going to be this person again (as your new destination will change you as well). My career ambitions have long changed from the sports stats rhapsodizing aficionado to the more geopolitically inclined macroeconomic news watcher. And being able to live in this amazing city has played a huge part in that metamorphosis.

Through my brief period in the news media, I have forged a deeper understanding of Singapore’s socio-economic structure, the inner workings of the various sectors in the industries, understood Singapore’s pragmatic foreign policy, and been fortunate to get a front row seat to the latest in the Singapore economy. Many expats perhaps never get to fully understand this, despite their prolonged stays in the city.

As I leave the tropical warmth of Southeast Asia for the blistering blizzards of Northeast America, I can safely say that my biggest sense of gratitude has been being able to call this amazing city HOME.

“Singapore isn’t floating away, you can always come back” friends tell me in their assuaging tone. True, but for now as she turned a year older yesterday amidst the festoon fireworks, she can’t hear my footsteps through the departure gate at Changi Airport, and won’t even notice I have left. But I will miss her dearly, in ways words can’t fully express.

As one of the world’s most expensive cities, many may define the word asset, as being to able own a HOUSE in Singapore. But one doesn’t need to own a house in a city to call a place HOME.

So thank you for the memories Singapore, and more importantly for giving me the biggest asset — your hospitality in a place I have come to call home, away from home. Even if it was just for fleeting seven very very short years (2010–2017).

Majulah! #SG52

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Geopolitics & Diplomacy at Fletcher School, Tufts | Op-Ed Writer |TEDx speaker | Panel Moderator| Thought Leadership.

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Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on August 11, 2017.

A journalist by profession. He writes about business & finance, geopolitics, sports & tech news. He is a TEDx & Toastmasters speaker. Follow him @Akshobh

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