The sea-hibiscus flowers start off pale yellow with deep red centres, and mature into rich striated sepia, at which point they fall, still beautiful. A few weeks before, a photo of fallen blooms had appeared on my phone, sent by a friend who lives around there. I recognised them at once. What are these flowers doing on your side of town? I wanted to know. They belong over here, near the champak trees. And there are others, too: I think of the guava trees that unashamedly drop their steamy musky crop around them when in season; and someone has planted, with wavering success, a moringa (I know it as drumstick tree); and I have even seen a Java apple — Malacca jambu to some — attempting to fruit. I know these flowers, I tell my friend. They’re where I’m from.
Text and images by Simryn Gill. Typesetting by Ruud Ruttens. Edition of 50.