Sunday, August 05, 2007

How disconnected I am with the Island

She asked me about the good places to visit in Singapore. I struggled for a good 5 minutes to come up with a decent (albeit still short) list. It turned out that she had been to more places than I ever did in my 21 years (before I left for my tertiary education) on that island.

So lau kui malu.

I haven't even been to (that part of) Geylang, yet I had my fun in Ropponggi.

How many sides of Singapore have you seen, being a long time resident?

Friend: I am not surprised. You and most of your Singaporean friends are cocooned in a little ivory tower. Bet you don't even know much about the neighborhood schools' environment.


I am becoming a youtube junkie, searching for songs from my childhood and teenage years. This is my favorite from Chage and Aska (similar to 周华健's "让我欢喜让我忧").


k3\/ said...

is this song from your childhood too? it definitely was from mine.

sure brings back memories.

L'oiseau rebelle said...

Actually, one of my colleagues recently asked me for advice on visiting Singapore, as one of her friend's ship was docking in Singapore for a few days and he didn't want to follow his friends to the bars. I came up with a pretty good list, including places I barely remembered. The list goes something like:

Food: Newton, Chomp Chomp, Changi Village, Adam's Road

Outdoors (since he likes the outdoors and was bringing his bike off the ship): Pulau Ubin, ECP, Sungei Buloh, Botanic Gardens, Alexandra Park (this one includes history and architecture)

Culture/History: Basically I said something to the effect of "go to the Bras Basah area and walk around", mentioning a few places.

And a few other places like Fort Canning and Labrador Park.

He sent back an e-mail, was very excited about my suggestions, and saw a lot more of the island than Zouk.

While doing this exercise, I realize that when we live in a place, we take a lot of things for granted. When my colleague first asked me, my obvious reply was "go eat all the food", but then you have to do something in-between eating. So I asked, "What does he like?" and she said, "Outdoors, history and culture". And I realize, that while we've constantly heard about Singapore history and culture while growing up, to other people, especially from faraway lands and culture like the US, it's something different and intriguing. Much like the way we would approach the history and culture of, say, El Salvador.

In the same vein, in one year of living in Colorado, I've seen more of the state than some people who have lived here all their lives. Surely you've met people who've lived all their lives in Arizona and never been to the Grand Canyon or Hoover Dam.

takchek said...


Wah lau. I hate that song.

Vivienne said...

Haha.. Did you have problems thinking of actual places or did the difficulty lie in finding the right chinese names for the places?

I guess that sometimes familiarity blinds out observation skills and we do take things as the norm rather than the exception. Maybe that's why we fail to notice things around us.

One of the places that I adore is the Bugis-North Bridge Road area. The neat rows of shophouse painted in different, contrasting colours gives the place a lot of flavour and the variety of eating places from HDB style coffeeshops to KTV pubs in the area does lend the sector a lot of personality. Near Arab street, there are a couple of large alfresco malay type cafes where you can sip teh tarik in the setting of Sultan Mosque and it's really amazing on a fine day! I also like this pub called Blujaz at the end of Bali Lane, which has a tropical feel to it. Lots of large leafed vegatation and frangipani trees (unlike the commercial balinese spa-like tropical feel). Perhaps it's the stark contrast between the concrete jungle and tropical type feeling that I enjoy.

Bugis village is the closest to a market type shopping area (ie. Taipei nightmarkets) that one can find in this island. I really enjoy the small fruit stalls on the perimeter of the market and you can buy a mango and get the shop keeper to skin and slice it. Of course, when durian are in season, eating durians on one of those foldable tables can be quite an experience. Just seems that the world passes me by while I'm are eating durians!

Marina South has also a number of restaurants selling 2 in 1 BBQ-Steamboat buffet, which are well supported by students (aged 15-17). Probably because it's cheap. In front of the large open field and the chatter of singlish around me, it's the closest to the "暑假 forever" feeling that I get in 淡水, 台北, where pop music and ice-cream reign and hanging out with their friends are their primary concern in life!