Out of many, this is one of the “Black and White” houses on our little red dot. The name “Black and White” depicted the black painted timber windows & doors and the white color painted walls. Currently, there are about 600 colonial houses scattered around our main island. In the past, it was meant for public servants’ lodgings but these days, these houses are on lease for residential, commercial or F&B usage.
The picture revealed House No 30, Bukit Chermin, which is one of the grandest and largest of the four existing bungalows along Bukit Chermin. Just like the rest, the house is preserved by the URA, Conservation Unit.
However, the old Keppel Shipyard is gone at this time, it was relocated to another part of the island. Now the mangrove is left behind listening up to the tide gushing up and telling the old story of reminiscence.
Strolling along the Coastal Walk in noon time, is hard to find a single soul.
A lonely bird ignoring a lonely stranger or a lonely stranger staring back at a ignoring bird.
Walking towards the left of the Park, the scene of an inviting island over the other side of the sea greets you with open arm. This is the western side of Sentosa Island, Ford Siloso is lush by the den and greenish forest.
There is an machine gun post built during the British colonial era and is meant to protect the coastal shore. Thus, any attempt to assail the main island will acquire a heavy cost.
There is also a restoration of Dragon’s Teeth Gate. According to the provided introduction, Dragon’s Teeth Gate was famously known as “Batu Berlayer” or “Sailing Rocks” among the local Malays.
In 1349, A Chinese Historian Wang Da Yuan described in his article, “the straits between the two hills, Temasek (old name of Singapore) looks like Dragon’s Teeth, this is how the name was derived.
In 1405, the great Navigator, Zhen Hē sail passed Temasek using his navigation chart with Dragon’s Teeth Gate as one of the landmark.
In 1819, the first resident of Singapore, William Farquhar found a deep harbour at the site and named it Keppel Harbour. Subsequently, the British blew up Dragon’s Teeth Gate to widen Keppel Harbour. Fortunately, this historical scene was saved by an artist name J T Thomas with his brush of paint.
As you saunter along the curve boundary of the Park, you catch a good glimpse of The Reflections Apartments and the delighted Star Cruise Virgo waving and welcoming you on board.
Brew a pot of tea with three Friends – Fragrance, Optimistic and Clarity. Looking at each other speechless beats a thousand words.
My friend is FRAGRANCE, she came up with a surge of faint fragrance and gently caressed my nose, clearing my nose, and finally hook up with my mouth leaving my lips upturn and marks at the curve.
Your OPTIMISTIC persona makes me more certain that happiness is inevitable being your friend. Your gentle body has the ability to bring one to another realm. There is no doubt I am affected by your pure and optimistic nature.
Staring at each other, distinguish the precision between us. Both our CLARITY reflections mirrored on our pupils. The longer we stare, the more apparent the lucidity. Till the tea sediment descended thus laid the meaning of Friends.
On the path to tea appreciation, I met my three Friends, they are on the FOC and yet they lead me to the course to good health, what can be more superior?
My Friend, there is a nation who feels proud of you. Your unyielding nature makes you look even emaciated. But lanky is not your name. You are not afraid of the cold winter, but you are the first to bloom in spring. The first gentlemen standing on the land dancing fearlessly with spring and a smiling gentleman, I called.
My Friend, you do not mind lying next to the grave, and you do not mind associating with strangers soaking up in holy bath. But you mind only if fall brings you the beauty of grief or sorrows. With your haughty attitude in autumn, I do not ask for much. As maple leaves died out all over the floor just for your tender face.
My Friend, your elegant, free and easy attitude whirling in the wind, bring a pause to my reminiscent for others. But you are so modest, you do not forbid birds and landscape rivals with you on a manuscript and you give way to a painter’s inspiration.
My Friend, you are infamous. You uphold the title of a National Flower and people sing so well of your elegant glory. What else do you lack of? Your distinctiveness, wholesome and noble sentiments put you high up to the zenith. Infact, with your independent personality, praises are to you only a title, but a pursuit in the eyes of others.
A trail to Labrador Park is not my plan. I was there by a tail wind and with some historical stories behind.
To get away from the weekend crowd, Labrador Park is one good choice to reclaim a historic and ship theme scenery. It’s a two-in-one goal! You may like to backpack sunshine and fresh air along while trailing.
Shades and forests are the bodies of this park. There is one side road leading to Labrador Battery at the entrance located at the south tip of Singapore. Labrador Battery is seated within the lush Labrador Nature Reserve.
“Kampong” in Malay literally means village. In olden days, Kampong is the main building form before the reinforcement of concrete technology is established.
The common scene in Kampongs during rainy seasons is fun and memorable. Villagers chasing after ducks and chickens, hastening to bring in clothes from their clothes lines to keep away from flood and rain, whilst barefooted kids and dogs hastily fleeing to find their own shelters. Sadly, this amusing scene is a memory of the past in Singapore with the exception for this little last Kampong.
Kampong houses are usually constructed with zinc roofs and timber walls with windows and doors. Floors are usually laid with cement screed and it feels chilling whenever you step on the floor day or night. Leaving each other’s door open is a common sight in a Kampong. That was the trust and camaraderie the villagers had for each other.
Wind charms, tree houses, birds, chicken, ducks, dogs, cats, fruit trees, flowers, make-shift fencing, stand alone post box, shabby toilets, raw and unpolished nature landscapes are the elements of Kampongs.
Smells of chicken poo floating in the air; gecko’s calling; mosquitoes whizzing in your ears; lizards clicking on the wall; cricket’s chirping with their dance; dogs bucking in the night; frogs singing with their orchestra are just part of the calling soul of a Kampong.
The Surau Kampong currently houses 28 families – 10 Malays and 18 Chinese. In time to come, it may not be able to protect its own boundary. As life is impermanent, more than ever in this fast changing Lion City. Before Singapore gobbles up its last village, let’s step in more often to this carefree and slower pace of life as compared to the urban contemporaries.
An elderly couple emerged from the early morning mist. Age in their 80s, sported in their usual casual wear, look washed out with the waves on their face. Unlike their silvery white sideburns, their energy never slide. The old man held a clutch in one hand, sustained by the old lady’s feeble arm on the other. Both look so happy like the desirable cobalt blue sky.
This is my other Friend “Nature”. He bestowed comfortable, warm and simple affection. Though they are just a pair of strangers in my life journey, but their presence and silhouettes never ceased to be strangers in my mind.
Few years down the road, the sight is still in my mind so sharp and clear. No exaggerated manners needed for set off, no gorgeous embellishment required to look good.
The elderly couple emitted fragrance so natural and rustic. No pretentious smile, just healthy, serene and noble sentiments circulated with elegant simplicity!
With the presence overtaken by events, perhaps both are together in heaven, or perhaps they are still strolling in the early mornings. But the message my “Friend” had left behind, makes me realized the wisdom of another life, sparkling with crystal clear insight.
The afternoon sun brim over the church hall, through the space between the iron railed window grilles. Looking out from the window covered with climbing morning glories, on the old brick wall parked a small mantis.
This mantis is so small and frail, he leaped while the wind blows, picking himself up over and over again against the wind. This garden with a pond is surrounded with fragrant flowers enriched with fertile soil, conclusively with this little mantis who was injured through his fall but never succumb to his collapse.
Friends, your name is “DREAM”
With you, saplings thrive and sprout year after year.
With you, failure is no longer an easy compromise.
With you, the wings of a dream turn stronger.
With you, countenance of the youth loses its silhouette of frustration. The forlorn feels warm in blizzard nights.
I met a Kachang Puteh man outside Peace Centre along the main street. “Kachang” in Malay means Bean and “Puteh” denotes color White, on the whole it means White Beans.
Kachang Puteh man was an immigrant who came from India during the 50s and 60s. They are popular among the kids, cinema or amusement park patrons.
Life is a start from scratch. They are self-reliance and sell beans for a living. Besides selling beans and nuts, tidbits like prawn crackers, sweet candies are what they can offer too.
The beans varieties were mostly roasted, though some were steamed (like the chicks beans). All beans in containers are neatly laid on the Kachang Puteh cart. The kachang are wrapped with thin paper folded in a cone-up shape. In those days, it cost $0.05cents per cone but now I have to pay $1.00 for a cone!
Personally, I have a penchant for the roasted variety which comes coated with a layer of sugar, though too much of it may cost the Tooth Fairy some works!
Kachang Puteh man usually lodged their carts outside cinemas or amusement parks. In those days, cinemas and amusement parks are standalone buildings and it is easy to push the cart around and start a business. Unlike now, cinemas are mostly “built-Ins” and run by building’s management. Renting a ‘peanut’ corner in a building will be costly and affects the Kachang Puteh Man’s income. Moreover, no outside foods are allowed in the cinemas other than those bought from the cinema’s vendors.
However, Kachang Puteh man are vanishing soon, we don’t see them around more than often, even in our country’s Little India these days. If you happened to see one, do stop by and patronize, as they may fad off soon. Now you see it, now you don’t…. In times to come, it does not only leave behind a taste of nostalgia but also the shadow behind our Mr Kachang Puteh man.