When the descent began to Changi, there were only two small traces of cloud, far to my right. On landing, signs on the doors of the gates announced in large letters that Changi is A380-ready. I was out in minutes, as always. The taxi-driver gave me the important news that it isn't raining all that much these days.

I'd arrived early, the rooms weren't ready, so I had to wait. I went outside. At eight in the morning, only Starbucks was open. And it looked like it might rain. Taking in the moment, I sensed another, presently inaudible rumble: cars revving up; buses starting at their terminals; the MRT starting up — at various points across this small island, all to converge here, on Orchard Road. I looked at all the hotels and condos around, where people would be bathing, dressing, eating, getting ready, to soon step out to throng and rock this place.

I stood there and took a deep inhalation.