Take a Noticing Walk: Ep 1: Lentor
Updated: Jul 15, 2021
A new series on the habit of "Noticing".
I've been racking my brains about what to call this new series for a while.
Here were a few previous ideas:
The art of noticing (sounds pretentious, yucks).
Noticing the hidden Singapore (sounds like travel page).
Learning to pay attention (sounds like a help page for ADHD).
Finding joy in the ordinary (not bad, but vague)
Yet, you kind of get the gist about what I'm getting at here. It's about addressing the habit or even an addiction that we Singaporeans have all fallen prey to.
No I'm not talking about bubble tea. What I am referring to is our habit of always keeping ourselves busy.
Have you ever noticed how more and more people walk around each day with their faces glued to their phones? Whether it's at a pedestrian crossing, or on your way to work, there seems to always be a need to keep ourselves busy and distracted.
We've forgotten how to appreciate life and how to view the world as it presents itself through our senses. Instead we seek constant stimulation by checking our emails, messages, or even watching a Korean drama on the go.
This happens on the weekends too. Even when we're out and about at a beautiful park or on a hike, our minds are tuned inward. We think about our to-do lists, a problem we are currently dealing with, or what to eat for dinner tonight.
We're missing out on the beauty around us. The beauty of ordinary, daily life. Isn't that the fullness of human experience in its most basic form? How can we ever hope to substitute that with distractions gained from our phones and expect to be happy?
We've forgotten how to simply notice and enjoy our daily experience. Instead we wait for our annual or biannual overseas holiday before we allow our eyes to open again.
That's not right. It's time to change that.
Taking a Noticing Walk.
It's a simple series to address these four tenets:
Learning to notice the things we normally would have missed.
Cultivating a sense of being present, in the here and now.
Finding novelty in daily life, instead of waiting for holidays.
Having a deeper sense of appreciation for our beautiful country of Singapore.
So here's the first episode in this new series. The smart thing for me to do in this first episode would be to choose an exciting place like, I don't know, Haw Par Villa. But it wouldn't be right.
The right thing to do is to start with my own daily life, i.e. my neighbourhood of Lentor.
Episode 1: Lentor.
For this trip, I decided to take a walk around the private estate near our home. Accompanying me is my dog, Soba. So follow us as we both opened our eyes to notice.
1) This beautiful house decorated with crawling leaves.
Does anyone know what species of leaves or ferns these are? I wonder how long they must've taken to crawl its way up the wall.
2) This owner who has been a long-time Donald duck fan.
Strange to see a familiar grumpy face I haven't seen for a long time.
3) Aloe Vera growing along the side walk.
Ever since I saw this first batch, I started noticing them everywhere.
4) The postman must know this home by heart - a unique sense of taste.
I was tempted to open it and look inside. Does that count as trespassing?
5) This family who created a little sidewalk farm.
Are they edible plants?
6) Now, this makes two fishes in one day.
This one felt like a mini Japanese garden.
7) This random grand tree at a junction.
It's pretty majestic no?
8) The little splitter splatter of water flowing through this drain.
Close your eyes and it turns into the sounds of a peaceful stream.
9) This homeowners with a sense of humour.
I don't whether to laugh or run away.
10) This couple who appreciates the simple beauty of longkangs and sunsets.
I'm also a self-declared inadvertent longkang connoisseur, but that's a story for another time.
11) This vibrant bush that found its unique home.
Where do its roots go? What helps it cling on? So many questions, so little answers!
12) Wondering where the water flows from.
Long kangs have always seem mysterious to me. It feels like there's a story to each one - what it must have taken to built it, has anyone ever tried exploring the underneath.
13) A forgotten path.
This must have been once a nice path to walk through and explore. Why has it been forgotten?
14) An old military base?
You could spot the faded remnants of the "Warning, firing zone". What's behind the arbour?
15) The big green field that lives nearby.
We always complain about there being not much space. Yet here it is, right in our backyard.
16) Who pried down this door?
Venture in if you dare. I hear there's a wild dog that's made this its home.
17) Soba meeting a strange new friend.
I'll give ten cents to anyone who can name this dog - without googling. Apparently there's less than five of these around in Singapore.
I got to say. That was a lot of fun doing as well as writing. I've walked through our neighbourhood so many times, but never opened my eyes to these new things.
It's a pretty cool experience. I hope you get to try it too. In fact, it might be best practice to even do this simple below:
Practice Tip: Each day, just notice one new thing in your daily world. Don't go out of your way to do it - just simply step out of your mind and notice.
Thanks so much for reading Kaya Toast for the Soul. More happy living tips coming your way. Stay tuned for Episode 2.