I HAVEN"T been back to Sungei Road since maybe two years back. I first knew the place as a child when my dad brought me there to shop for birds and baby rabbits. If my hazy memory of those days serves me right, small shops (probably the ground floor of old shophouses) lined the road. They all smelled of bird food (those cakes which you stick between the railings of the bird cage for the birds to peck at.) It was a good smell. Besides birds, they sold small animals too, such as baby rabbits.
There were a few occasions when we brought home a baby bunny in a brown paper bag. Though I liked the white ones better, with the pink eyes, we usually got the brown ones which were supposedly more robust then the white ones.
My dad nicknamed the street "cheuk jai kai" (Bird Street in Cantonese). And till now, I can never ascertain that it was Sungei Road. Will never be able to, I guess. There was a fire in the 1990s which wiped out the old pre-war shophouses. And as an MRT station is being built here, all vestiges of the old Sungei Road are gone though there are still a few vendors at Pitt Street and Kelantan Lane selling junk near the area.
While many "old timers" remember Sungei Road as the Robinsons of the poor (purportedly sold stolen goods from Robinsons dirt cheap -- besides a lot of second hand goods), it will always remain as "cheuk jai kai" to me.
|Piit Street, off Sungei Road. Postnote: The road bazaar will be gone by July 2017.|
|Sungei Road today. Water still not clean enough to swim in, but the surroundings are all spruced up.|
|Cannas lined the riverside near Jalan Kubor.|