Nepal who lived in S'pore for 18 years has fond memories

She was at Kathmandu airport last Friday to pick up her sister when she saw a group of people carrying the Singapore flag.

When the Nepali realised the group was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Crisis Response Team, who was in Nepal to aid the earthquake relief efforts, she immediately knew what she had to tell them: "Thank you."

Miss Menuka Gurung, 25, told The New Paper from Kathmandu: "Their help means so much to us.

"I just wanted to thank them from the bottom of my heart, on behalf of all Nepalis."

When the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck on April 25, Miss Gurung was just about to take a shower.

She said: "The ground was shaking like it has never shaken before and my conditioner and shampoo fell off the shelves.

"It felt like a theme park ride. I was convinced I was going to die."

Fortunately, Miss Gurung escaped unscathed. She said: "Singaporeans are very lucky they don't have to experience such things."

Though Nepali blood runs in her veins, Miss Gurung considers herself a true-blue Singaporean.

The daughter of a Gurkha guard was born and brought up here.

She attended Bartley Secondary School, a popular choice among the local Nepali population, as it was next to her home in Mount Vernon Camp.

Miss Gurung forged some of her fondest memories while in school here.

"Much of my school life revolved around my co-curricular activity, Red Cross. I remember training really hard for all the competitions like first aid and foot drills," she said.

"I made so many lasting friendships."

In 2008, after living here for 18 years, Miss Gurung returned to Nepal when her father's service with the Gurkha Contingent ended.

"When the time came for me to leave, it was like a doctor telling me I had only months to live.


"I had to go back to a home that wasn't my home."

Although it has been seven years since she left, Miss Gurung is still struggling to come to terms with it.

"I still find myself more Singaporean than Nepali. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking that I smell carrot cake or durian.

"I also miss local dramas like Growing Up, which I would watch every day. I used to have a big crush on Andrew Seow."

When TNP spoke to her over the phone yesterday, she could pass off as a Singaporean, peppering the interview with "lahs" and "lors".

"I may not have a pink identity card but I'm as Singaporean as can be," she said.

"Home will always be Singapore."

This article was first published on May 6, 2015.
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