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road to singapore

road to singapore

next stop deepavali

singapore’s mrt trains are super efficient, despite occasional breakdowns. they’re clean, fast, no nonsense. they zip around smoothly underground, overground, ferrying commuters from early in the morning till late at night, every single day. i don’t usually rush to get pictures of one of them. but just heard that a train is all decked up for diwali, or deepavali as it’s called here by the large tamil community, and decided to go find it today. singapore has a local indian…

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road to singapore

a camp on mount vernon

when did the gurkhas come here? i went to the net to check. it’s an interesting story, starts back then with colonialism, goes on to how post india’s independence, the british army’s gurkha regiments stationed outside remained where they were, soon proving again how relevant they were in the current scenario as well and, of course, how brave. brave, it’s a word that always comes to mind when i think gurkha. it may be stereotyping an entire people belonging to…

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road to singapore

from gombak drive to armenia

at the end of our walk yesterday, we came across the galistan family service centre. it was a simple, single storey, slightly rundown building surrounded by a metal fence, but there was a welcoming air to it. we had just turned into choa chu kang road from upper bukit timah road. aj said these centres helped needy families, also the many foreign workers on the island. the banners hanging on the fence gave details of recreational programmes for maids, or…

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road to singapore

how do you say ang mo kio

the flags are up. i frown, still a bit disoriented after the europe trip. what’s the month, i wonder. it’s july… of course, national day, just round the corner. okay, about three weeks away, but what’s to stop you from getting ready to celebrate, wear red. ang mo kio – the prime minister’s constituency, he leads the grc, aj informs me – is looking lovely in the dusk. there are flags everywhere, up on hdb blocks, in food centres, at…

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road to singapore

curves and more in tiong bahru

it was a painting on the wall that we happened to come across, we had no idea it was there. we were walking in tiong bahru, a neighbourhood that’s been around a long long long time. it’s one of the oldest housing estates here, in fact. a stretch of beautiful art deco buildings, just two- or three-storeys high, painted white or a pale shade whose colour it’s hard to tell, with edgings and borders in dull greens and blues. no…

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road to singapore

a campus ramble

there have been students around here for a long time, but they weren’t always from the nanyang technological university. i realised this only now as i started to look for the history of this massive campus on the south western side of singapore, beyond jurong west. the skies were particularly blue and the sun was high on our heads, hot and unkind, the day aj and i went for a walk at ntu, as it’s called. i was intrigued by…

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road to singapore

a walk in little india

i wasn’t giddy with joy at the thought of walking in little india. long before i’d even stepped into singapore i’d heard of the wondrous mustafa of course. if you’re indian and you go to singapore, then you must shop there, it’s in a place called little india. i’d made a resolution back then not to go anywhere near mustafa unless absolutely necessary. came here, got a job, found out both my chinese bosses loved mustafa. “how can?” is all…

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road to singapore

one-north and two places

the first time i went to cafe colbar and mentioned it to my boss, he said it had moved from its original location. colonial bar, which got shortened to colbar, was set up in 1953 at jalan hang jebat and served as a canteen cum hangout for the british army personnel living in the area. in 2003, at the age of fifty, it would have faced sudden demise to make way for a road. people petitioned to save colbar. jurong…

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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…

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road to singapore

spring time

when a walk starts with your companion pointing at something beyond a fence and saying, “those are missile launchers,” you know it’s a day for things not usual. i was expecting to reach a heavily wooded sort of area on our traipse to find singapore’s only natural hot spring. instead, we got off the taxi in front a humongous military base. armoured cars and other vehicles i don’t even know the names of, were lined up behind that fence. there…

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