I first met Hasan along with Ahmed at the Healthserve office, a non-profit organisation that provides medical care and support to migrant workers in Singapore. While Ahmed was initially more open to conversation and we had found many points of connection through music, Hasan was a little more reserved. I later found out that Hasan and I were of the same age! It then struck me how both our life journeys are so wildly different but yet we ended up at the same place on that day - a humble office above a shophouse in Jalan Besar, gathered around a table in casual conversation, sharing music videos from our respective cultures and attempting to sing along to some Bengali songs. Over time I began to teach Hasan, along with Ahmed, some simple chords on guitar. Music was a simple point of connection but a significant one, as not only did I teach them individually but I also encouraged them to learn the instrument together.
I met Hasan for lunch at Tekka Centre before our collaborative creation session, and we both ordered chicken dum briyani. As I got to know Hasan better, I began to realise how much he truly loved his home country of Bangladesh. Each time he found an opportunity to go to his home country, it was a positive experience, and this was very clearly reflected in his Journey Piece. When I asked him what were his thoughts about living and working in Singapore, he replied that he enjoys his time in Singapore and has made many friends here of various nationalities and ethnicities. However, Singapore ultimately wasn't his home. I'm happy that I got to share a friendship and relationship, however short, with Hasan during the course of this project.
By Neil Chan