Category Archives: Singapore

Visits to Singapore ~ my birth place.

On This Little Street in Singapore …

The street where I lived … during my childhood… East Coast Road.It’s an old street with many old buildings retained but with new shops and businesses. It actually made me wonder what became of the old shops ~ books & comic stores, ice cream parlors & bakeries, laundries, mom&pop sundry stores, medical clinics …

As I walked on … “Aargh! It’s still there!” though closed for that day. Mum once told me that I got my 1st shot of cocktail here ~ BCG & 4-in-1 (whatever made up the ‘4‘ during that era is anyone’s guess) ~ yes, I survived.

Now run by Junior Kai

Each time I got sick, this is where I would end up and everytime I was here on that dreaded green flatbed, I would see Doc with a syringe in hand. I simply didn’t want to remember his name so I just called him Dr. Needle till I was 10 years old.

A more pleasant sight is the ever famous Red-House. For many years, it stood vacant, boarded up, sadly on a wavering status of whether to be conserved or not. Thankfully, it’s been restored but is now a bakery-nouveau of sort. I used to ride my bicycle here to get mum her bread & cakes and, yes, the aroma could actually trigger hunger so I learned to run this errand, twice a week, after lunch.

The old “Red House” Katong Bakery.

The Katong Red House Bakery has a fascinating history – it began with the 1925 ownership by a wealthy Muslim tradeswoman Hajjah Fatimah (Hajjah indicates completion of pilgrimage to Mecca). In 1931, a Jewish man named Jim Baker, started a Bakery (see the pun? 😀 ). Then came a Hainanese man, Mr Tan Siang Fuan, who took over, paying $600 as “coffee money”.  The Hainanese are famous in Singapore  for literally being Bartender, Baker & Chicken Rice Maker (see earlier post with Chicken Rice mentioned).

Every child had a hideaway then (not sure about now) and mine was right here in the back alley of the next street. Hey! we were cellphone-less & escaping from chores was considered cool.

Where I rode bicycles & played with dogs and chickens.

We attached nets wall-to-wall and played badminton and volleyball. I collected stale bread from Red House Bakery and would feed & talk to the roaming chickens and dogs. Yes, life was good living in harmony with different beings.

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Built by a Jewish Merchant in 1928

I walk the streets of Singapore, each time when I’m back, with a different feel these days. I try not to take anything for granted. So when I saw the David Elias Building, I stopped, I observed, I approached…

David Elias Building

Note the significant Star of David at the top and along its sides. Built by Mr Elias, a Jewish merchant, in 1928 to house his trading company it just emits vibes of history.  It stands at the the junction of 2 main roads indicating a prime location.

The tallest point of its façade.

With the intermingling of races & religions over the years, I think ownership and tenancy has played a significant role in little addition(s) to this conserved historical building. From my brief observation, it shows ~ very subtly. I wish I had a reason/excuse to explore its interior but alas … 😦

Little mirrors attached.

Mirrors outside a building, placed in strategic locations, are used to deflect “poison arrows” in Feng Shui… other buildings’ pointed corners, roof edges, broken walls, etc., so this indicates a Chinese Feng Shui believer owns/rents some or all of this building now.

Down on the ground level, what else can there be but a food shop/eatery for us Singaporean food lovers.

Dual purpose blinds – block sun’s rays & advertise.

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Walk All Over … From Different Perspectives

Sometimes people are just so rushed that they do not stop to take a 2nd look and appreciate things literally starring at them face on. Yes, I’m guilty of that when I’m rushing through, on errands.

In the past I would not have noticed but this time I stopped and I looked … busy people, wide pacing, street crossing …

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♫ Food, Glorious Food … minus little Oliver

“Oh how I do miss thee, when I am far away …
can never be substituted,
no matter what others say.” ~
Me, the food lover

It may look simply strange and “foreign” to many but being back in my gastronomical heaven, calories and dieting can wait.

Singapore’s Thieves’ Market

Soon to disappear, Singapore’s “Thieves’ Market” was a place I decided to visit, not having been there for at least 20 years. It has since shrunk to a fraction of its original size with parts fenced off and shipping container type of offices, usually set up by construction companies, next to the roads.

Not all items are thieves’ haul, this whole “mart” is more like a Rag-&-Bone (wo)mens’ meeting ground. What is sold simply does not involve inventory or stock taking, I’m sure.

1 of the entrances

No window dressing – WYSIWYG…

Goodluck kitties, cooking pot, electric cord, garments …

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

These 1851 US Dollar coins are actually “fantasy coins” – did not exist in that era, is of no monetary value and Made in China – I kid you not.

Packed up to go. Whether this vendor will return to set up store tomorrow is anyone’s guess.

Another local feature is disappearing… is this because of progress? I don’t know, but it just saddens me that each time I’m back, I learn that change is occurring at a faster pace than the last visit.

Oh what joy…!!!

Yes, I took a break from social media. I decided to simply “lay low” and do some hardcore reading of good books from the library.

But yesterday evening I experienced so much joy & actually screamed my excitement, which I have not done for a long time, and thank goodness I do not have next-door neighbors.

A young 21 year old Singaporean actually beat the champion swimmer Mark Phelps at the Rio Olympics in the 100m Butterfly event. Yes, Joseph Schooling swam with his idol and actually beat him by nearly 1 second. schooling-phelps-dataIsn’t the above a telling photograph?

Swimming - Men's 100m Butterfly - Heats

Congratulations Joseph Schooling! May you have many, many happy years of competitive swimming ahead and as our Prime Minister saidYou made us very proud today”.

OK, my summer break is over. Children are back in school so it’s time for me to begin blogging again. 😉

Torn between 2 Love(r)s

Good old (well, it’s not that old really) Changi Airport! Now, they have a sunflower garden where you can roam to pass some time after you have gone through Immigration and Customs.

Sunflowers and Singapore Airlines ~ I love the 2 of them.

Sunflowers and Singapore Airlines ~ I love the 2 of them.

Look at the size of those sunflowers! Grown on a roof too...

Look at the size of those sunflowers! Grown on a roof too…

On the one hand, knowing that I’m leaving my birthplace always brings on a heavy heart but then knowing I will be going home, as in a real home, where I can kick off my shoes and lay on my favorite couch, walk into the wardrobe and pick up my favorite ‘jammies’ (pajamas) … makes me look forward to being home again. In many ways that old song “Torn Between 2 Lovers” applies to the core, with the exception of the object of love. Yes, we, human beings are strange creatures.

After a 27-hr flight & transit trip ~ I sometimes hope for no bedsores 😕 ~ the sight of land while the aircraft descends to my disembarking point brings simple joy. Ah yes, my adopted home ground…

Coming home ...

Coming home …

I sometimes wonder what/how early immigrants felt.
I doubt they suffered jetlag.

Urban Loneliness?

seniors

They come down from their apartments to be with others, yet they sit quietly by themselves. They each know that there are others, like them, sitting there, yet they do not make conversation. The markings on the wall show that many heads have rested there. I stand watching, wondering what are they thinking about ~ the past? the future? family?

Is this urban loneliness?