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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
- Multi-racial respect
- Motivation for bus drivers (known as bus captains locally)
Top-notch, never a second that I was worry about our safety. But of course this is Singapore.
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.
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.
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.