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Stephen: From 86 Bone Fractures to Travelling the World

I remember rushing from an appointment to my office at Little India Arcade, and along the way across the street two unfamiliar men began calling out to me and waving. I turned to glance at them, not stopping my pace, gave them a puzzled look, and carried on my way. ​ I was scheduled to meet up with Sid later that afternoon, who had just returned from a two-week trip to India, but had to rush out some work first. When the time came, I gave Sid a call. ​ Me: "Hey Sid, where are you? Where should we meet?" ​ Sid: "Dude me and my friend were waving to you about an hour ago and you completely ignored us. I'm with my friend now at Tekka Centre." ​ I half sank in disbelief. What? Those two guys? There's no way I couldn't recognise Sid! I immediately rushed to Tekka Centre across the street and found Sid seated across an American man. ​ Turns out the Sid I knew got himself so well groomed in India that I couldn't recognise him, at least not from afar and in a rush! He then introduced me to Stephen, a good friend of his with an unbelievable story to tell.

Whilst Sid went to buy us some hotdogs, Stephen and I had a wonderful conversation about how he had only arrived in Singapore a few months ago with his wife. But it's what led him here to Singapore, specifically Little India, and what makes him want to stay here that's amazing. From a car crash causing 86 bone fractures in his body to being poisoned in Turkey, Sid jokingly but perhaps accurately commented that they should make a Hollywood movie out of Stephen's life. ​ What's fascinating is that Stephen, as an American relatively new to Singapore, had already made so many friends within the Little India community. As I walked down Campbell Lane with him many shopkeepers would greet him warmly and ask how he's doing. ​ When I shared that I was doing this Little India Journeys project with Sid, Stephen suggested: "Do you want my story?". I was taken aback at this unexpected turn of events but immediately said yes! ​ When we met for the collaborative creation session, Stephen's story was so rich and full of detail that we spent a good 4 hours painting, sharing, recording, and making art together. Stephen shared his gratitude in letting him be a part of my project, and even gave specific suggestions on how his Journey Piece should sound like - which I was elated about, as the whole idea of this project is a collaborative effort to share life experiences through music. ​ ​By Neil Chan

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