Eighty-five-year-old Marie-Louise has had a love affair with Singapore for a long time. She shared that at the age of 10, in the Spring or Summer of 1938, a tall, handsome stranger came to her home in Switzerland to visit. “Uncle Richard” was a friend of her father’s and was working as a Rolex salesman in Singapore. “I was elated that he had brought me Monopoly as at that time, it was fairly new and had not yet gained popularity in the country,” she recalled. However, it turned out that it was not the game that in the end that fascinated her, but that of his life in the multicultural and colonial city of Singapore. “He talked about Raffles Hotel with its parties and fun, and tales of Chinatown and the harbour. All this sounded so exotic and exciting for a Swiss schoolgirl.”
She added: “I remembered I would sit for hours listening to his stories and through his stories, I wanted so much to be a part of it. I started to fantasise that when I grew up, I would marry him and move with him to Singapore!” As she grew up and forgot her childhood infatuation, Singapore was not to be forgotten. In 1968, she came to Singapore for a visit. She retired in 1993, moved onto her sailboat and started her cruise around the world. In 2009, this led her back to Singapore where she stayed for four years because of a Singaporean who encouraged her to spend time in the city and share her long working experience in San Francisco, working with the elderly!
She has not only gained many friendships in the country that she has had a long love affair with, but also many good memories. Sadly with the New Year approaching, she is getting ready to head back to the US. This year she had fall on her boat that resulted in knee surgery on the right knee because of a torn ligament. Unfortunately, it has not healed as expected. She is hoping her trip back will give her some answers as to whether there are solutions to repairing her knee. For now it is adieu to Singapore but not a final farewell, as someday, she hopes to return.