I had some time to kill last weekend while waiting for a friend at Chinatown. Chinatown is such a magical place. An Austrian runs the sausage bar, a Hongkonger runs the pastries stall, the elderly play chess everyday regardless of everything that’s happening around the world, the shop-help works hard to peddle his products to the tourists everyday. I just wanted to while my time away, but never expected Chinatown to be so interesting even for a local. There is so much activity happening in one place and everybody who comes wants to be part of it. Chinatown is run by locals and foreigners, attracts the old, the young, the Chinese Nationals and the local community, welcomes tourists of all countries with open arms. This is truly, Uniquely Singapore.
Taken during Canon digital imaging class assignment at Little India on 9 March 2013.
Task: take anything interesting about Masjid Abdul Gafoor Mosque, streets of Little India, and wet market.
Been to Little India once but I never knew there was more to this hidden gem than meets the eye. Interesting. Never has there been a place like Little India where a whole barrage of colors and activity gather in one epic pothole. Hindu Temple, Mosque and Chinese Temple are just round the corner at one densely populated settlement. There’s so much to see. Beer bottles and tables in a mess. Who drank from them and who was seated there the night before? Garlands making and fruit selling and photographers shooting. And there’s the wet markets – bursting with activity from meat sellers hankering for business and customers, Singaporeans and Caucasians looking for the best deals. There’s so much to see, smell and hear. There is magic even in the seemingly ordinary of things.
Earlier in the morning, my folks and I were having breakfast at Changi Village. Dad ordered Nasi Campur while mom got herself Lotong. I went for Mee Rebus. It dawned upon me how natural it was for us to order food of different ethnicity.
Since young, many of us were exposed, slowly introduced and got accustomed to all sorts of cuisines such as the Indian’s Roti Prata, Nasi Biryani and Fish Head Curry, Malay’s Mee Siam, Mee Goreng and Nasi Lemak, and Chinese’s Hokkien Mee, Chai Tao Kway and Chicken Rice, though many dispute that they are more Singaporean than they are of their original heritage. Ordering Roti Prata or Mee Siam (both my favorites) is like second nature for me (and I trust that it is as well for many who share my sentiments).
How wonderful it is that the cultures of different races can integrate, blend in so well and complement the other in this cultural hotspot known as Singapore!
We need to preserve this ‘Uniquely Singaporean’ culture as with the delicate balance of race, language and religion. It would be quite sad if the children of the next generation only knows hamburgers, steaks and McDonald’s.