Today, as yet another old lady started talking to me non-stop in a friendly tone, I only wished yet again that I put in the time and effort in learning at least a basic conversational Mandarin.
Right from the beginning, we have found the elders here to be extremely friendly. Be it the neighbours or random strangers in the bus/train, corridors and other public places, the elders here have always been very friendly. Saying a ‘Hi!’ or playing with the babies or stopping a crying child with just a ‘Sshh!’ uttered in mock anger or exchanging a sympathetic glance with me as I try to calm a crying child or giving kids candies, they are friendly all the time. Be it listening with rapt attention to the Chinese songs our daughter was learning in school or just striking a conversation with us. But language has always been a big barrier when it came to communicating with them since most of them do not know English. In our previous apartment, we had such a helpful neighbour, but, alas, language was the problem. We had to wait till her son came home to communicate anything important. If only I learn Chinese…
(Written in early 2016. We moved from this area in January 2017)
Sometime last week, I was walking along Rochor Canal Road carrying my son. At around 8:30 in the morning, the usually sweltering heat of Singapore was yet to reach its peak and there was an air of pleasantness to the weather. The water in the canal was still and, there in the still water, I could clearly see the reflection of the blocks/buildings of Kelantan Road – my home for the past 3.5 years in Singapore.
A post on my previous neighbourhood – Kelantan Road – in Singapore is something which I have been planning to publish for more than a year now! A while back, I found my notebook on which I had written this post last year and sat down to type this on the laptop. That’s when I saw the date and it struck me that it has been exactly 5 years since I first set foot in Singapore – July 28th, 2012! Now there is no way I am moving away from the laptop till I finish typing it fully. Stay tuned for it.
Surin Park has now become one of the parks in Singapore I regularly visit. This small yet beautiful park has walking paths covered by the shade of several trees including a tamarind tree which is among the list of heritage trees of Singapore. Nestled among posh independent houses and across the road from only one series of HDB (Housing Development Board) apartment blocks, this is in a very calm and peaceful locale.
Taking in the lush greenery lining the paths and pointing out the various butterflies and tiny insects to my kids, I just love walking through this park. With shelters having benches, a kids play area and an exercise area, this park, away from the noisy roads, makes for a perfect place for relaxing with family. It makes for a nice change to have the buzzing of insects for company, instead of the noise made by vehicles, isn’t it?
Music, Nature & Walking – The top three things which always inspire me. It was one of those lovely mornings with overcast sky and the water in Rochor Canal, Singapore relatively clean. And there I was going for a brisk walk along the canal pushing the stroller of my little one.
Rochor Canal, September 2016
As I mentioned in my previous post, the best thing about the temples in Singapore is the prasadam. During my initial days in Singapore, I used to say that the Senthil episode in ‘Boys’ movie should have been featured here rather than in Madras because you’re sure to get an entire meal itself as a prasadam here if you time your visit to the temple correctly. Even otherwise, you’re sure to get some prasadam most of the times.
The one thing that you’re not going to miss much if you’re in Singapore is the visits to temple. Though the temples here are no match to our ancient temples in terms of the architectural marvels, the divine atmosphere still remains the same. The moment you step inside a temple, many a times it still feels like you’re still in Tamil Nadu. The deities beautifully decorated, the sacred chants by the pusaaris/kurukkaLs/pattaacharis, the sounds of nadaswaram and tavil, the brisk sale of nei viLakkus and archanai tickets and the temples filled with a whole lot of South Indians barring a few North Indians and foreigners create the familiar atmosphere of our very own temples.
The best part about the temples here is that every temple has its own nadaswaram and tavil players, which, unfortunately, is not the case with the temples in Tamil Nadu. It feels great to see the musical rituals too being followed strictly at all the temples here with the nadaswaram and tavil players playing the mallaris and other pieces at all the stipulated timings all through the day. My daughter being a big fan of the music made by pee-pee dum-dum 🙂 absolutely enjoys visiting the temples.
No post on the temples in Singapore will be complete without mentioning another best part about the temples here, which is, guess what, the prasadams! But that deserves a separate post in itself, so wait and watch out for that.
Since I never got around to writing about this place, my impressions and experiences of it, I have decided to finally start writing about Singapore, my life here and my favourite places here.
This photo pretty much summarizes what Singapore is all about – the city-country island with its high-rise buildings dominated by HDB (Housing Development Board) apartments everywhere followed by condominiums (private apartments), greenery – lush and wild in a few places, neat and trimmed at others, some construction activity or the other going on all the time everywhere with bulldozers, cranes and cement mixers being a common sight on the road, as common as buses and cars.
More to follow in the upcoming posts…