Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Gosh, is this Sungei Road?

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.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

House of cards

A two-storey house built from cards. Couldn't
find those traditional CNY cards from my childhood.
WHEN I was small, and Chinese New Year greeting cards were small...

Well, not that terribly small, but they were usually just one leaf. Not folded. Just a simple rectangular card, usually with Chinese paintings of flowers or vases -- with the Chinese words "Gong xi facai" or some other greetings printed on them.

Or, they could be decorated with paintings of scenery, of mountains, waterfalls and pine trees. Some have nice ethnic motifs running all round the borders.

They came in the post, in thin pink envelopes.

The "two-leaf" cards were rare and so they were treasured more. And because these could "stand", they could be used as "foundations" when you build your house of cards. Those rectangular "one-leaf" ones were used as "floors" or "roofs".

I suppose these cards were the early day legos.

Di Tanjong Katong...

The nice wanton-mee restaurant at Tanjong Katong Road. The owner had started out as a street hawker near Joo Chiat.

IT is nice to walk down Tanjong Katong Road, starting from the nursery at Mountbatten Road, opposite the old post office. Lots more eateries since the days I was studying at TKGS (Tanjong Katong Girls' School, above pic. It is now the Canadian International School). I don't really know this road very well except for the days I stared out of the crowded bus window travelling to and from TKGS ( But the names of the roads branching from the main road are still very familiar -- names like Wilkinson Road, Branksome Road... where some of my classmates stayed. We used to pop over to their homes after school.

Well, the Katong News Agency is still there near the bus stop where I used to wait for bus no. 72 to take me home to Serangoon Gardens. I noticed that the service doesn't operate on this route any more though. Katong News Agency used to have lots of magazines dangling from somewhere at the entrance. No longer. Instead, the entrance is now crammed with snacks.

Being on leave to do some spring cleaning, I decided to give myself a treat. Took the bus to Eng's at Tanjong Katong Road. I never knew of its existence till blogger friend, Streetsing talked about it. Eng's reputedly sold Singapore's best wanton mee.

May not be the best. but by far one of the best I have tasted! The soup is really tasty and I felt like asking for more like Oliver Twist. The place is clean and airy, with wooden tables and stools. It has my favourite floor -- simple cement floor but polished smooth and sparkling clean. The place has a great seating and ordering system too.  Staff are very nice and polite. All speak excellent English and Mandarin. 

Thanks Streetsing. I had a most enjoyable lunch.