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.
On the early morning of 27th of July, I embarked on my first ever trip to explore the streets of Little India. I never really stepped into the streets of Little India except for a cultural trip back when I was in primary school and few years ago when I needed to get a shirt from one of the stores at the outskirts of the area.
It was a trip I wanted to do for the longest time and the desire to make it come to pass was re-ignited when I caught the movie ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’. Like what the movie said, truly there’s no place on earth that has ‘such an assault on your senses’ even if Little India is not actually in India.
The colors in Little India alone is enough to paint the town red, and along with it yellow, green, blue and what have you not. The strong scents that come from the garlands, food, perfume and temples overwhelming but inviting. The people, migrant workers or not are so friendly, perhaps more than the average person you meet in other parts of Singapore. The unity of this close-knitted community is amazing.
While there, I chanced upon a filming in progress. A Native Indian programme that seeks to shed light on the life of migrant workers took them across the seas to Singapore to film these people themselves.
For the Indians and Bangladeshis who came here to work, Little India is more than just a place to rest one’s head, it’s a home away from home. To the migrant workers who came here to make a living, thank you for literally making Singapore a better place to live in. Brick by brick, you build our city. And I am grateful.
To the average Singaporeans, perhaps this is one part of the country that you will always shun. For me, this place is truly a gem right at the heart of the city. I will definitely be back to breathe in the wonders of this place that holds a special room in my heart.