One of the agenda item for this 2-week break is to catch up with friends and former colleagues in our old playing ground of Singapore. I tend to pass through Singapore every time I travel out of Australia – why not given the lovely friendly flight attendants! – but the other couples I only had a chance to catch up with them separately. For the first time in ages we will be in one place, together. It would be really cool! Unfortunately the host, who is kindly putting me up at their family home, had to take off on a business trip and will be missing it, but still, nothing is stopping us from interrupting his meetings via skype video call… perhaps.
So here I am, back in the hot and humid of Singapore. I landed at 5am and took an early morning MRT into town. The city wakes up early here. At 6am the train is far from empty, with mix of people from migrating workers in their low-cost casual outfit (T-shirt and sandals), Filipino maids making their way to the families they look after in time for breakfast, some office workers who are about to start their crazy long hours, tourists (like myself) with their large suit cases looking up at the MRT route map trying to figure out where their hotel is, uncles (old men) maybe going to their favourite tea house or copitiam at one of the hawker centres… That’s your weekday morning. Sunday train is no less quiet, literally. Sunday is a day off for all the maids, so those petite girls from the Philippines, Laos, Burma, comb their hair, put on plenty of airline discount perfume they got from their madam of the house, paper shopping bag from famous brand boutiques or an actual handbag from such brand, only a season or two old, and make their way into Orchard Road where they catch up with their friends, make money transfer to family at home and spread their wings. No, you won’t get a quiet train on Sunday morning or evening (when all of those migrating birds come back to their work for the week).
Not that many places are open so early in Singapore, before 7am. A few copi joints, that’s about it. I found myself in exactly the same table at the same copi shop in the shopping centre near my friend’s place, as I did in my last visit. Copi with condensed milk, and toasted sandwich.
It was raining outside. Funny, in a tropical city, in the last few visits I did not arrive in the rain. But it started to rain as I was arriving in this part of town, and it looked heavy when I stepped at the exist after breakfast. 5-minute walk might become a 5-minute dive into the pool. I walked back in towards the supermarket but it is not yet open. Where is a convenience store when it needs to be convenient??? Found one outside.
It was a choice between yellow (they had half a dozen of these) or a pink (which was on counter – maybe a previous customer changed their minds?). I decided that yellow was a bit too strong and there is no harm in matching it to my salmon pink polo shirt I happened to be wearing. It matches better with my brown leather shoes and tote. What do you think? Or maybe, at least, it may create an opportunity to meet some pretty girl who happens to love pink (and it seems many of them do).
Fast forward here, I am sitting on the cool tiled floor of my friend’s house the next morning, hearing the sound of somebody blooming around the car park outside. A maid is washing the car before their master goes to work. A very normal day in Singapore.
I was thinking about what to do for the day, and decided to fill it will air-con and artistic inspirations. Here’s a few items I found from a quick Google search:
Genesis: Our Planet in Black & White (info)
Artist: Sebastião Salgado
Venue: National Museum of Singapore (Open daily 10-6)
Till 27 July 2014
Black n white landscape images, the likes you might find in National Geographics, I assume.
We: Defining STories (info)
Venue: National Museum of Singapore (Open daily 10-6)
Till 31 August 2014
A series of documentary/journalistic images, sponsored by The Straits Times (the local national daily paper, hence the ‘ST’ in title).
Art of Vietnam: The Colours of Life (info)
Venue: ION Orchard Art Gallery
Till 30 April 2014 (tomorrow!)
A collection of paintings by Vietnamese artists, filled with vibrant colours
Spurious Stories from the Land and Water
Artist: Sherman Ong
Venue: Art Plural Gallery, 38 Armenian Street
Till 31 May 2014
Photographs by Malaysia-born and now Singapore-based photographer/film-maker, demonstrating “a strong rhetoric on the theme of origin, migration and diaspora”, reflecting his own experience of migration.
Annie Leibovitz A Photographer’s Life 1990-2005
Artist: Annie Leibovitz
Venue: ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands
Till 19 October 2014
A photographer well known for her works capturing celebrities – I got a book on her works (a gift from my brother) but never seen original prints before.
So, it is a bit of back-tracking where I was yesterday (Orchard, Marina Sans, etc.) but why not. There are not many ‘new’ places I can think of going in Singapore any way… That’s about enough to fill my day today before catching up with friends tonight and flight out tomorrow.
Let’s rewind a bit to yesterday here, and leave you with a few shots from my day back in Singapore:
In a hot country, make sure you cool down…
Used to stop by this hawker centre a lot, for lunch or quick meal after work… It is being renovated, more polished and modern. A bit of shame it’s losing its sense of tradition and age which made it beautiful…
Ah, our old hang-outs… I remember the conversations we had on that balcony.
Who can resist the bread and good coffee from this French franchise? I had to grab a few bread when I saw their outlet in downtown Osaka 2 days ago, and now here I am, sipping a ‘real coffee’ that I was struggling to find in Singapore, with an absolutely lovely lemon tart!