road to singapore

a year later

bright blue skies, once in a way some darker clouds wafting by. a brilliant green padang. singapore river shimmering. talk of fiery speeches.

this morning aj and i went to fullerton square, where mr lee quan yew used to speak at the famous lunch time rallies and routinely enthrall audiences. aj remembered the exact spot where he was standing when he came here to attend one of these sometime in the ’80s.

it’s exactly a year since mr lee passed away. i miss him… his presence.

we walked today in his memory and traipsed around places associated with mr lee.

on 25 march last year, we had gone on a similar walk… the day they moved him to the parliament house from the istana, where he lay in state for two days before leaving for mandai. i remember the queues forming that day. today there weren’t any queues, instead groups of school children, out on their heritage field trips, finding out about their country, their nation, their heroes.

everything looked so pretty. i thought, this, all of this was possible because of a man with a crazy dream and a completely audacious imagination. a man who, no matter how many faults you find in him, really and truly loved his nation and worked tirelessly to make it succeed. a politician who cared about people. and was not afraid to be politically totally incorrect if he felt something was the right thing to do… a man with integrity, chutzpah, raw courage, and a brilliant mind.

i have read about the fabulous leaders and political figures of the indian national movement. whether one agreed or not with their ideas and actions, they were all people of great stature. there was a magnificence about them. but i know of that from a distance.

i am grateful i got to see and feel the impact of a leader like lky as i lived in singapore. the quality of those who lead, really does set the tone of everything. beside, something terrifically exciting about this leader.

we walked toward the city hall steps where he’d sit during the national day parade. there were flowers on the steps and a bright blue poster at the top. next to his picture, a quote by him, “look at that horizon. follow that rainbow. go ride it.”

“kuan yew” means “light and brightness.” an alternate meaning is “bringing great glory to one’s ancestors.”

aj was the one who said we had to go where he gave his speeches… thanks, aj, for that.

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i took many pictures. was a beautiful day, city looked extra pretty.

right on top is cavenagh bridge, we saw an archive picture of mr lee at a rally at this spot, had to take the shot.

city hall steps. now it’s the national gallery. didn’t expect that poster and flowers there. later heard it’s a tribute site open to the public. they were getting it ready at the time.

singapore flags fly at the fullerton hotel…

i saw at least three groups of school kids sitting on the promenade at fullerton square, studying about their nation… its history, its heritage. “who is cavenagh?” hands went up, questions were asked, laughter in the air. a feeling of happiness.

a view from cavenagh bridge.

cavenagh bridge.

used to be the general post office, the fullerton hotel.

the icecream cart, you can get a slab of icecream with wafers or sliced bread on either side for just $2.

i remember the long queues all around this area a year ago.

another spot where lky gave speeches said aj.

outside the fullerton hotel.

from anderson bridge.

the parliament house is on the right at the back, they are getting things ready for the special session today.

the victoria memorial hall and victoria theatre.

tall towers one after another by the river. i think bank of china was the only one for a long time, then came along the others.

st andrew’s road, national gallery on the left, padang on the right,

the national day parade is held here. the singapore cricket club with its tiled roof, towers of downtown behind… on the extreme left the new marina bay financial centre, part of the marina bay development.

isn’t the padang looking good? when i came here the theatres by the bay was still at the planning stage… and there was no singapore flyer.

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singapore river, boat quay on the left, asian civilisations museum on the other side. i love the cycles.

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road to singapore, fullerton square, uob plaza, cavenagh bridge, fullerton road, anderson bridge, connaught drive, st andrew’s road, beach road, 23/03/2106, ‪#‎SG50‬

end of 1997, we moved to singapore from india. in 2015, the country celebrated fifty year of independence. singapore has given me much and i am fascinated by the spirit of this gutsy city state with hardly any land or resources, but oh what dreams and chutzpah (the finest interpretation of the word), the ability to reach big, hunker down and hold and strategise and act and grow. despite my many years here, i haven’t seen a lot of the island, which started out at only 28 miles by 18. now of course it’s bigger, thanks to that spirit i spoke of. so i thought why not see singapore in this landmark year, and celebrate #sg50. aj, my friend and trainer, and i traipse in different parts of the city every week. hope you enjoy the walk talk. you’ll find more in my index. and the walks continue in singapore’s year 51.

indrani’s index

 

 

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    rhea sinha
    March 29, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Indi di its been a year? Time does fly, doesn’t it? Through all your articles I feel your love for the city you live it. Its a rare feeling, hope you get to hold on to it. And hold on to a man who inspires you. Very nice quote on his pic up there.

    I feel the same not perhaps for any of the cities I have lived in, but for the roads and lanes I have travelled on. The familiar houses, driveways, shops, restaurants, smells and sights. They transport me to a safe place of fond memories whether I was happy or not while walking down that road, at some point doesn’t matter. Just tha familiar sight is welcoming to my mind.

    By the way, I was surprised to see a Victoria Memorial in Singapore.

    • Reply
      indrani robbins
      March 29, 2016 at 11:28 am

      yeah, there’s a victoria memorial here. and a prinsep street, an area called outram, many familiar names from the raj… singapore used to be administered out of calcutta once as part of straits settlements.

      thanks for enjoying my walks and rambling… i admire this city. maybe i don’t love it as instinctively and helplessly and without there being always a good reason as i love india. but i regard it highly. i have started belonging. i feel the beauty of its people… they have a way of looking at life, a will to go, to move forward, and a completely dead pan weird sense of humour i have come to recognise i think, and rather like. old man of course, i was all set to dislike, but the more i heard him and sensed him and watched this island, the more my respect grew. one such politician can change a continent, not just a tiny little piece of land. i abs believe so. pagal, right?

      the roads and alleys and the feeling of familiar… a part of me always roams there. in another time, another place. places that live in you, long after they are gone.

      quite a year it has been. look at us #WriterbrewTurns1

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