Friday 30 August 2013

When in Singapore ..........

There was no mouse to catch in Temasek but many of the meeces  ( a word borrowed from Mr Jinks)  were unrecognisable.

Jai indulged us with a fabulous tosay breakfast at Tek Kah.  We then went for a walk in the backlanes off Serangoon Road.

There was this Church .....

........  and this was the frontage.

The Church of True Light at Perak Road was publicising a Festival of Healing which attempts /promises (?)  Blind Eyes See!  Finance Restored!  Barren Conceived! Marriage Restored!  

In the late 1950s, when I used to visit my school friend Lim Ah Moi at Tiong Bahru,  I noticed the poster in front of a Church which said "Jesus Saves".  I thought at that time it was all about saving money in the Post Office Savings Bank.  Of course I now know better and last week I learned the meaning of that term in Malay when I saw this banner at The Church of True Light.  Note the use of the term "Tuhan Jesus".  The Malays of oh, so long ago, very often used the word  "Tuhan" to refer to God - the word often used in the old sandiwara and movies.  Remember the heart-rending scenes when the mother of the hero would plead  "Ya Allah, Ya Tuhan ku"?   Nowadays the latter term is hardly used, just like the word "sembahyang" which has been replaced with "solat".   Also the language of service, in this church at least,  is "Bahasa Indonesia" and not "Bahasa Melayu".  

The Mandarin Service is at 11.00 am
The Service in English is at 9 am.

This church, located on a little street off Serangoon Road, also conducts services in Tamil/English at 5.30pm, Singhalese at 3.30pm, Hindi at 3pm and Malayalam at 8pm.  Truly a multilingual church, not like in the old days!

Masjid Abdul Gaffoor  at Dunlop Street was constructed in 1907 by South Indian Muslim merchants.  Jailani, our dear friend and host goes to this mosque for Friday prayers whenever he finds himself in the vicinity.  Jai says the khutbah is in Tamil but he has no problem with that at all.  It is still the house of God.

Now this picture is unique!  There's this beautiful , huge banyan tree.  To the right and left is a Chinese shrine.  But a number of Hindu effigies can be found near the shrine on the left.  That's harmony for you!

However, two instances made me realise this is not the Little India I knew.  The spouse talked to an Indian gentleman to ask about the shrines at the Clive Street banyan tree.  But he had little to say as he had come to Singapore from Tamil Nadu just 6 years ago.
I wandered about looking for a shop where I could get myself a blangah.  I went into one and made an inquiry in Malay - which is quite normal whether you're Malay or Chinese, whenever you go to an Indian shop - but the man I spoke to looked nonplussed.  He uttered a few words in Tamil and I picked on one word Malai. 
Okay, I got it, he does not speak Malay! Foreign workers in Kuala Lumpur, whether they're Indian, Bangla Deshi, Burmese, Cambodian or Vietnamese are usually able to speak and understand Malay, especially something simple like " Di sini ada jual blangah tak?"   I suppose the house of  Mammon (like a shop) has very different observances.   Some Singaporeans are not the Singaporeans I grew up with.

Singapore celebrated her National Day on the second day of Hari Raya.  In this poster by the Holland Bukit Timah GRC I found a degree of difficulty in locating a Malay face.
But the Singapore Malay is easily recognisable as a Young Denizen in the above. 

This shows Zhenghua CC advertising a Ramadhan Shopping Tour.

The itinerary for the above Ramadhan Shopping Tour included (1) Pontian to visit a costume jewellery factory, (2) Simpang Rengam for Malay Kueh (traditional cookies) e.g Pineapple Tarts, (3) Angsana Shopping Mall in JB and (4) Break - Fast buffet provided.  All in all a very "Traditional Singaporean Inclusive"  Outing.

Item 4 is a little confusing. Did the 'Break' consist of a fast buffet?  Or did it mean 'Break fast - Buffet provided'?  Or may I put on my teacher's hat and suggest that it might refer to "Breaking of Fast - buffet provided".  {Shut up AsH - stop being finicky!}

But this, thank goodness,  remained the same.  This corner stall at Boon Lay Food Centre (no more a Hawker Centre) sells  Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak (which won a special award - and which explains the queue) , Nasi Campur and the best Lontong north and south of Selat Tebrau!!

Haji Marsah Berkat Chahya Food has been here ever since I moved to Boon Lay in 1975.

This block of flats where my brother Mus and family used to live is still up and standing.  The same trees are still there and so is the Car Park. 

Ching, Ching, kuching, mana engkau pergi.

Let me have those old familiar, friendly feelings of past times and spaces.


Anonymous said...

I truly enjoyed this piece and please keep writing ok. Salam lebaran Dan Semuga cikgu Dan keluarga diberkati senantiasa. Aamiin.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Anon 1.22pm for popping in and I'm touched by your kind and warm wishes.

I wish the same for you and yours.

InsyaAllah this cikgu shall keep on writing for as long as youngsters like you enjoy and learn something from my jottings.

tsyhll said...

Found your blog couple of week ago and I can say your views are magnificent.

Lots of people have gone through lots of things in their life, but no many has the ability to express them in such finesse. Keep up the good work.

One question from me, if we put pure meritocracy in place in Malaysia, like Singapore will Malaysia become another Singapore?

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you tsyhll for the bouquet. All I have is the benefit of experience.

I have to say this however.

Heaven forbid that Malaysia "become another Singapore".

Is there really any policy/culture that practises so-called 'meritocracy'? It's just another terminology to perpetuate the power and wealth of a selected few. And on that note, nothing can be pure - especially meritocracy.

InsyaAllah I shall keep on writing. Comments like yours are very encouraging. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Salams Puan
Selamat Hari Raya.Thank you for sharing about Boon Lay food centre....Lontong n nasi campur ,nasi lemak power.My next visit is a must try Lontong as mentioned.


anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Wawa,

Salam and Selamat Hari Raya to you too! There's still a few days more in Syawal.

Do take your stomach to Boon Lay. For nasi lemak, they also include a whole ikan selar kuning goreng. Now that's traditional nasi lemak!!