To write in Singapore is to be novel, a new thing. To write about Singapore is dangerous, and hard to execute objectively. For the city is more patchwork than a landscape. Still there are cultures that float adrift, that are neglected by the men of power and each other. Then there are the lost modern crowds who throng the trains, homeless in their drugged security, heady and heading for the next palace, the next occasion, the next great redundancy. But mostly we are repulsive. The people who add coarse and oriental syllables to the ends of sentences, who stress them for emphasis in some utterly unbecoming manner for the western literary academic. No Joyce would top his conversations with crude animal sounds – his Dublin made other noises, more coarse perhaps, but generally accepted because his audience made them too. But here we write not for our roots – who read sadly little English – but for the new age. There is no space for crude animal noises in the new Americas.