A love-letter to cities (in pictures)

This post will focus mostly on my favourite photographs (& memories, because the two are by and large synonymous in contexts like these) of two particular cities: Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore. A love-letter to South-East Asian metropolises; to the shapes of the lines that demarcate sky-space and city-space in this particular region of the world.

μητρόπολις – mētrópolis

Orig. Ancient Greek: ‘mother city’

OED on contemporary usage: ‘a very large & busy city’

So without further ado. (On this note – I always hear people say ‘without further adieu‘ with a very pointed and falsely French stress on that last word. Am I entirely, entirely wrong in thinking ‘ado’ makes more sense? Have I been getting it wrong my whole life? Maybe it’s time for a quick grammar-induced panic-attack Google search…)

What I love most about cities are their lights: the colours they emanate, and the sheer state of life & being it signifies. So lights are for rooms, homes, cities: all of those spaces are lived in, loved in and loved by. The above is Kuala Lumpur, and the bottom is Singapore.

I love this picture for the stories it tells: people are hugging, posing, staring, photographing, holding hands, etc. - all in the glow of the omnipresent city. It watches like a mother; not far away from its root definition - μήτηρ (mḗtēr, “mother”). I guess I'm having a ''plump Buck Mulligan" moment - "she is our great sweet mother". This is a view of Singapore's gorgeous skyline, from the Esplanade area. It's beautiful because people really do live and love in the glow (I won't say shadow) of the city behind.

Dear Malaysian skyline. I see it every night before bed, and every morning when I wake up (though not in such glorious close-up... this was taken from Sky Bar, which has alcohol & the most amazing view - double win!).

Took this just last night, in the pouring rain, in the center of town. Life is lonely for an umbrella in the big city. Capitalism reminds me that life has some sort of sense of constancy: it isn't all tragedy & soul. Some of it is just plain soulless and that's beautiful. It's wonderful.

(This is how I read Breakfast at Tiffany’s too: in a world of goodbyes and love stories, Holly Golightly finds comfort in the clinically mass-produced (and yet exclusive, of course); in shop windows and their perfectly pre-arranged world. Nothing is out of line. Everything is designed to attract. There is simply no room for tragedy, soul-searching, hello and goodbye, love or loss on those window-display shelves, I’m sure. And so Holly goes-lightly. I always find pretty shops and big glass windows with lots of expensive, over-valued things extremely comforting. Almost the most comforting thing in the whole world. Isn’t that slightly disgusting?)


  1. Anita S said:

    Hi! I like your photographs; they are quite illuminating. LOL, sorry, bad pun. Seriously, I have never seen such brilliant, sparkling cities. I live in a city but it’s not like that.
    Your analysis of Holly Go-lightly is on the money.

    • Hi! Haha thank you – I’m afraid I overdid the time for which the lens was open. But never mind. Cities are beautiful at night coz of the lights, I guess! What sort of city do you live in? Is it European? Coz the European ones are very different (though no less beautiful, in their own way!)

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