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Mapping Neukolln

Transcription of the English Audio

Mapping Neukolln

The sound of the ambulance, ringing. Looking left and right, trying to figure out my bearings. To relocate to a different place, the biggest change for me is not what I see, or what i do not see, but what I do not smell, what I do not hear, and what i do not feel. I think the first for me, is the assault of the sounds – the ambulance sounds – whereas back home in Singapore it was a pleasant sort of assault; an assault of flavours, the sounds from the Hindu temples, the smell of spices. Especially that of, Chinese, Indian, the beautiful Malay, Indonesian (spice) mixes.

The sound of food being cooked, the sound of music blasting from radio. That kind of assault, I don’t find here in Berlin. I find myself in Hermannplatz, and I find some markers – especially across the road from Hermannplatz where there is a bubble tea shop, there is Hami’s, that was until I realised that – that was my introduction to Berlin. Across that, the unfinished Hindu temples. And from there I started to find food, and from food I found people, Soy Division that makes a very good chili (sambal) – schaft sauce.

Sambal belachan.

The one I miss, but not quite that of home. When cycling I met other Singaporeans I bumped into, just by hearing their accents in Singlish, the songs, the melodies. And, sometimes I live in my head, and create these moments and scenes. Because I am just one, and not just tied to the Singapore diasporic groups. It’s really hard to anchor myself to a place, to Thai Park, or the markets. But yet, I find a slice of home in cooking with other people, in discussions, in topics we care about. Be it, our experiences of immigration here, or in cinema, and where there is space to express, especially through sound. These spaces are where – sonic contours, especially I can cover a sense of space, and orientation, for myself right here, right now.