Changi Airport departure lounge

First of all, at this airport if you really want to lounge they have a Snooze Lounge. I don’t have all that much time, however, so I’m sitting not far from my gate eating a roast chicken and apricot sandwich on walnut bread from Starbucks, drinking black tea with hot milk from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, under a glass-floored fountain that’s not quite as well-sealed as they might think: it drips occasionally on the chair opposite me, which might account for the fact that I’m alone. Or maybe I just look forbidding. Across the concourse looms a giant Tissot ad featuring Tony Parker, an NBA player who’s the son of an African-American father and a Dutch mother, and who was born in Belgium and raised in France. Two women in saris just got off the little golf cart that’s taking them to their flight. It’s waiting for them while they nip into the duty-free and buy Irish whiskey. A vast crowd, maybe 30, Indonesian Muslims, the man in white pillbox hats and the women in white headscarves and all of them in identical pale blue shirts and trousers, are working their way through security. How do I know they’re Indonesian? I asked, not them but someone else. The couple to my right are speaking Mandarin; to my left, two men whose language I don’t know. Oh, Singapore.

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