Hello Singapore: 1-6 July 2015. Day 2: spending the day like a local

For Malaysians, there are two camps when being asked about Singapore. Either you love it, or you hate it; there is no ‘in between’.

Singapore was my ‘second home’ during my early childhood. School holidays were spent visiting my two aunts here. So I had my fill of sightseeing many decades ago. Now that I am an adult, I avoid Singapore like the plague.

Personally, I don’t really like Singapore, and will not choose it as a holiday destination. But if I happen to travel here on business, I am happy to extend it for few days.

So I wasn’t really excited about this trip. I wouldn’t dream of a personal trip, if it wasn’t for my mum. I intended today to be a shopping day, but it turned into a day spent with relatives, and live a day like a local. Or rather, live like Singaporean’s retirees.

It’s really a good city for elderly people

Mum and her younger sis, Aunt L went out for morning exercise. I then followed suit at a later time for breakfast in Uncle S’s car. Food in Singapore is so affordable, it is still possible to pay SGD 2.50/3.00 for a bowl of noodle, and mind you, it is a bowl packed of ingredients to the brim.

 

SGD 3.00 each for our bowl of loh mee and laksa

 For lunch, we met with my mum’s eldest sis, Aunt K and her hubby at Chinatown. I took MRT with Mum and Aunt L. Aunt L was not familiar with Chinatown’s station. So, I ended up to be one leading the two women out from MRT station. A Malaysian leading a Singaporean, how ironic.

Aunt K and Uncle P were surprised and delighted seeing us, as they were not informed of our trip beforehand. Happy to bring some sunshine into their lives.

Aunt L chose this restaurant, Holland Village XO Fish Head Bee Hun restaurant, famous for its XO fish head mee hoon and prawn paste fried chicken. For Malaysians, it’s nothing great as we are used to gooood food. Malaysia and Singapore have this ‘food war’ .. so don’t get me started on it.

Holland Village XO Fish Head Bee Hun Restaurant

Out of the few dishes we ordered, I like fried fish kwey teow the most. Prawn paste fried chicken is interesting, but nothing to-die-for. Total bill SGD 69, thanks Uncle S for the treat. Uncle S paid most of the bills as he’s still working. I would like to give him a treat, but he refused. Once a child, always a child.

Fish head/fillet mee hoon overdosed

Uncle S then brought us to Tong Shui Desserts at People’s Park Centre. A place that got me fumbling for a while, unable to decide on my dessert choice. Can’t blame me when they have more than 60 choices in the menu, hot and cold desserts included!

It’s a place that has made it into my checklist, so yeah, I’ll be back.

Tong Shui Desserts is located next to Dessert Hut, with more or less same offerings. Beware of fierce competition. Aunt L told me that police had to come to stop a fight before. Fierce!

The tong shui here has my seal of approval

Highlight of the day has gotta be my local SMRT double deck bus #190 ride home, from Chinatown all the way back to Choa Chu Kang. It took us about 1-hour, and I enjoyed the slow ride, but direct route home. It’s like a tour of the city, minus the expensive fare. I paid SGD 1.80 for the joyride.

 

Our bus ride home from Chinatown

 I felt that the 1-hour ride is akin to intercity bus in Malaysia because it incorporates BKE (Bukit Timah Expressway) and PIE (Pan-Island Expressway). It was also easier and leas tiring for mum, otherwise traveling on MRT requires multiple transfers and a bit of walking at MRT Interchange.

Three key takeouts from the bus ride:

  1. Safety
  2. Multi-racial respect
  3. Motivation for bus drivers (known as bus captains locally)

Safety

Top-notch, never a second that I was worry about our safety. But of course this is Singapore.

Multi-racial respect

Four languages spotted on signage inside bus. In Malaysia, if I am not wrong, we only see BM language. So, nice job SMRT for inculcating multi-racial respect.

 

English, Chinese, BM and Tamil

 Motivation for bus drivers

Hmmm … when I saw this, I immediately thought about Thailand’s long issue with their horrendous bus drivers. I told my aunt if this is implemented in Thailand, it’ll turn into a complaint hotline.

 

Singapore’s ‘compliment’ our bus drivers today will turn into Thailand’s “complaint” board

 So, I enjoyed my slow-day and triggered me into thinking. Many Malaysians gave up Malaysian’s citizenship because of their children. For me, I think Singapore is elderly-friendly, and perhaps it is an option for mum’s sake. Food for ponders.

Writer

Travel opens up a whole new world, which is cliche but true. I am a strong advocate for independent and solo travel. I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia but now live in Bangkok, Thailand, resulted from a chance encounter in 2009 with my why-are-you-Thai bf. I am now split between two countries. One country for my bf, another for the family, for the occasional weekend together.

2 thoughts on “Hello Singapore: 1-6 July 2015. Day 2: spending the day like a local

  • January 17, 2017 at 2:56 pm
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    SMRT and SBS will never bother to improve their service as much as they can if they think they have the moyploon. That popular argument is repeated often but there is some validity to it. Just curious. Are there any private bus lines running from a heartland central straight to CBD etc? They might give SBS and SMRT some worry. Wonder what is the licensing and cost involved.

    • January 18, 2017 at 6:06 am
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      Hi Justice,

      I believe that there are no private bus lines in Singapore …

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