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Adventures in Singapore

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I thought at this time that I would be writing a final entry encompassing all of my great adventures and what I have learned over the last four months now that I am all settled down. Isn’t it funny that life always has other plans?

I arrived about two weeks ago in Singapore. The land of spotless streets, glistening skyscrapers, and decadent cuisine. My life in the “Lion City” has been interesting to say the least. Singapore’s diversity is pretty astounding, especially since it often gets the wrap of being sterile; or my favorite, the nickname, “SingaBORE.” Here the culture is centered on food, all over the city from pleasant Chinatown to hectic Little India, you will find the most unbelievable and affordable cuisine. The affordable part is the most convenient for me, having exhausted most of my funds traveling, I find myself living out of a backpacker’s hostel and walking around with my first paycheck that I can’t cash because my account is not yet open. In other words, having a great time here. 

I thought that traveling up to this point had already brought all of the crazy surprises and that I was now ready to start practicing here. As I walked through my future clinic, I couldn’t help but be impressed. Set on the 8th floor on top of a mall, in one of the nicer areas of the city, with an incredible window view to boot. It seemed almost too good to be true. As I sat and had a cup of coffee in the mall, I started dreaming. This is the place where I am going to help thousands, if not millions, of people reach and realize their full potential. The mall had everything, coffee houses, a gym, and an incredible wine ship tucked away in the basement.

Then I got a call… “So what do you think about Jakarta?”

The next day I was on a plane to Jakarta, Indonesia. “The Big Durian” is its nickname, referring to the large, spikey fruit that only grows in southeast Asia; westerners are quick to mention that it smells like a rotten sewer. 

Jakarta is the antithesis of Singapore. Once referred to as a poverty, stricken, hell-hole, the city has come along way in even the last ten years. A city full of energy and foreign investment to boot. I wasn’t surprised to find malls that housed stores with Versace, D&G, and Tag Huer. Still, Jakarta is an urban planner’s worst nightmare. Big towers shooting up everywhere without abandon. Streets snaking in between the skyscrapers, while cars come to a standstill due to traffic and motorbikes zooming by.

Despite all of this, the energy of an up and coming city is undeniably seductive. Here in a city that has 25 million” registered” inhabitants in its metropolitan area, chiropractic is almost unknown. 

I flew back to Singapore as my boss asked me to think about it, and that the choice was totally up to me. I had the biggest dilemma. Yes, Singapore is a great, clean, and safe place. I sat on the Singapore river that night thinking, with a glass of wine, the young and affluent all around, encompassed by glimmering towers. I found myself utterly confused. This decision would play a giant part in the next few years of my life. Singapore is great, however Jakarta is wild and untamed. What excited me the most is the possibility of starting something new there, to learn the Indonesian language, and to be in some sense, a trailblazer. 

As I talked to one of my great mentors that night he challenged the heck out of me. This grandiose idea of going to Jakarta suddenly didn’t look so hot. He ended with what I believe is the best advice you can ever give to somebody. 

Just listen to “innate,” it will tell you.

“INNATE is God in human beings. INNATE is good in human beings. INNATE cannot be cheated, violated, or tricked. INNATE is always waiting, and ready to communicate with you, and when INNATE is in contact you are in tune with the infinite.” – BJ Palmer, DC

Of course this idea sounds great. However, I was on a time line here. This was going to be one of the biggest decisions I have made in my life thus far. This might define who I am, how I grow. How the heck was I going to get this answer in such a short time? Actually, I was starting to get quite scared, I broke into a sweat. Maybe Jakarta isn’t the right choice. I have already taken a chance coming here, do I really need to go overboard? 

I sat in my room and meditated on it for about an hour. I stopped perspiring. The anxiety settled down into a sense of calmness. “Whatever decision I come to will be great,” I kept telling myself. I went down the hall and walked to the bathroom. Now after staying in this place for nearly two weeks, I had used this bathroom the whole time. I stepped in closed the door and looked down. Suddenly a chill ran up my spine.

In one of the tiles next to the toilet seat, there was a word engraved there, big and bold. I had never noticed it before… “Indonesia”. 

So here I am again, packing up once more. Ready for yet again, an adventure of a lifetime, something special. Did I make the right choice? All I know is that I am diving in head first. Like many times on this wild ride of the last four months, I feel like I did come in contact with innate, the infinite, just to reiterate BJ.

I believe Ralph Waldo Emerson said the same thing, perhaps more eloquently: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

Spine tingling…

Dr Matthew Horkey
Dr Matthew Horkey
Author | Speaker | Wine Enthusiast

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