Friday, November 27, 2009

My Very Singaporean Journal

Friday, November 27, 2009

Singapore. Who on earth hasn’t heard of it? A smallish city-state just off the southern tip of Malaysia, no larger than the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur. And a very, very ambitious and modern country too.

Me being a Malaysian, it is almost customary to visit Singapore at least once in my lifetime. I beat that though. I have been there three times in my short life thus far. My latest visit there was to attend prayers that my uncle was having at his home, and chill out and have a look around after that.

It had been some time since my last visit, which was some five years back. Since I had grown up and matured over the years and forgotten Singapore pretty much along the way, this trip of mine served as an eye-opener. That is because I am old enough to judge for myself if whether Singapore is a great city or otherwise.

My stay lasted only five days, but I did as much as I could in that period of time. My cousins were very familiar around there, and it helped a lot. I just followed them around.

Getting down to my personal experience in Singapore, I would start with my first night. I took a bus along with my mother and siblings from Kuala Lumpur and spent the night at Shangri-La in downtown Singapore. It was very late so I dozed off as soon as I got into the room.

After checking out of the hotel the next morning, I made my way to my uncle’s house in Ang Mo Kio together with my family. The prayer had commenced on Friday and was to conclude on Sunday. The continuous three day prayer is synonymous with the Sikh community and is called ‘Akhand Path’.

I was there throughout the course of the day and helped out here and there. I also took the initiative to explore the house and my, it is huge and very well done-up. That night, I stayed at another uncle’s house of mine located at Woodlands as the formers house was quite crowded. In the car, I learnt a lot about Singapore from this uncle of mine.

He explained that no one would break traffic rules in Singapore because the laws are very stringent. Not surprising since an offence would warrant 4 demerit points and should it hit 10 demerit points, severe penalties such as the suspension of driving license await. Then there are a whole lot of other laws. I deduced that there are just too many laws for such a small place.

The next morning, a Sunday, was when the prayer culminated. There was ‘Kirtan’ after that, followed by ‘Langgar’. Since it was done in a private residence, there were not that many people as compared to a Gurdwara. Then, we got down cleaning up the whole house and putting things back in order.

After a long day, my uncle said that he would treat us out for dinner. We went to Orchards Road via MRT. I realised that the transport system there is integrated and henceforth, that makes it convenient for commuters. No wonder Singaporeans need not have their own cars, and the roads are always clear.

We walked around Orchard Road, pretty much window-shopping. Then, we had to decide where to eat. First, we searched for a vegetarian restaurant, but to no avail. In the end, we settled for Grandma’s at ION Orchard. Truthfully speaking, the food there was not at all cheap, but the quality, superb!

By the time we reached home, it was way past midnight. I struggled to get sleep that night, and therefore I woke up late the next morning. On that evening, I had planned to go to Marina Bay with my cousin, but after doing some research beforehand, he found out that the Formula 1 circuit had been disbanded and there was nothing much to see.

Orchard Road it was again. We went there, walked around more, walking in and out of malls and plazas like we were walking through a mega-maze. The place was alive with many people, the atmosphere electric. There were the superb Christmas decorations too lining the streets and spicing up the malls. It was a sight to behold, literally, as it was unique.

The sad part is that many shops closed down early, and soon after there was nothing much to do in the malls. We reached a common ground that it was best we went to Chinatown. After an MRT interchange, we were there. Again though, the stalls were mostly closed. It was practically deserted. Anyway, we bought a few mementos such as key chains from there.

Guess what time we had dinner that day? We had dinner at sharp 12 midnight! Awkward isn’t it?

My cousins went back the next afternoon and together with my family, I went to my other uncle’s condominium unit at Woodlands. We spent the latter half of the day there. My aunty served us delicious home-cooked pizza for tea, followed by some special sort of rice for dinner. I also met their grandchild who’s 2 years of age.

That spelt the end of my trip to Singapore for it was our turn to return back to our base in Malaysia the next afternoon. I spent some time with my uncle’s children the next morning, thanked him and my aunty for the wonderful time we had there and off we were to Kuala Lumpur.

A worthy trip and a well-served break from life at home is how I would sum up my visit to Singapore. It certainly helped to relax after a hectic year of school and studies. This has set the tone for a productive holiday, I hope.


alkatro said...

nice story.. life is good.. keep spirit :)

CikYana(",) said...

hii :)

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