Blowing Out the Candles: Top 5 Sleepless in Singapore Stories
The above above video is character-driven montage of “Portraits of Southeast Asia,” a photo-heavy post from September 2013 on Sleepless in Singapore that shows a beautiful cross section of the characters who inspired many of the stories on this cultural blog.
Today marks a year since I created Sleepless in Singapore. To celebrate, I’ve created a top-five list of my favourite posts over the past year, as well as the video above.
I published my first blog post on April 5, 2013 after about a week in Singapore. This involved several sleepless jet lagged hours hidden away in my hotel room on Joo Chiat Road guzzling gallons of Vietnamese coffee and Badger Beer just to maintain my sanity as I designed the site. I must admit, it was a struggle at first, and one that didn’t end after I left Southeast Asia, either. I created this sitting in beer parlours in Bangkok, hostels in Cambodia, and coffee shops in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Wherever I went, Sleepless in Singapore followed. It was — and continues to be — my passion, and obsession.
Now as I sit writing this in my North Manhattan Dominican neighbourhood of Washington Heights, my environment is very different than where I was a year ago. Latin music is playing down the block, police sirens echo in the distance, and wrinkled, old South American men are selling fruit on the street.
However, a vibrant pocket of Southeast Asian culture lies just north of here in the New York City borough of the Bronx. It’s allowed me to keep Sleepless in Singapore alive, and create “Cambodians in New York City,” a four-part series focusing on the Bronx’s Cambodian community. I learned how to meditate, ate fish ball soup amongst the local Bronx community, and listened to refugees tales of escaping the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and their journey to America. For this continued exposure to the culture, I’m extremely grateful.
This post is a shout out all the characters I’ve featured ofrom Phnom Penh to New York City. From the ice sculpting kebab chefs of Singapore, to the empathic leaders of impoverished villages I visited in the Malaysian countryside, to the serene monks of Wat Jotanaram temple in the Bronx, you’ve re-instilled my love for journalism. Without you, Sleepless in Singapore wouldn’t exist. Thank you.
And for everyone that’s ever read or followed my blog — terima kasih (thank you in Malaysian). Earlier this week Sleepless in Singapore hit 10,000 views and beyond. This exceeded my wildest expectations when I first started this site. I love Southeast Asia and it’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me — including Sleepless in Singapore.
Happy birthday, little guy. Time to blow out the candles. Now if only I could get my hands on some Chang beer and baht to celebrate. Chul mouy! Here are my top-five favourite posts on Sleepless in Singapore.
5. Genocidal Tendencies: Fractured Cambodia & the Khmer Rouge (Pt. III — S21 Prison)
4. Malaysian Gang Baptisms: The AKP73 of Kota Kinabalu
3. Explosive Phnom Penh: Boom Boom Pow in the Jungle
2. Fountain of Life: Balud Batu’s Water Crisis
1. Skin Deep: Phi Phi Island’s Bamboozling Tattoo Industry
BONUS — Wat Jotanaram: Buddhism in the Bronx (Cambodians in NYC Pt. IV)
Connect with Dorian Geiger, editor of Sleepless in Singapore.