Return to Singapore: Part Two

Ah yes. I know this has been a long time coming. Life got in the way too many times with more travel, work, friendships, family, you name it. I have also been lazy, I can’t blame it all on these harmless forces now, can I?

And now to Singapore. The next two or three days were filled with more walking and exploring. Here are the highlights of the rest of my trip.

Baba House

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I went for a free tour of the Baba House, a historical and well-preserved example of Peranakan architecture. To be part of the tour I had to book a place in advance, for which I had to write to the National University of Singapore, the ones who maintain the house. Being a heritage site, care is taken not to let too many people in at the same time making it much in demand, which is why getting a slot in the tour is a bit difficult. I was lucky. The tour was supposed to last about an hour but went on for much more than that as the guide elaborated on the significance of every corner and curlicue in the house. She was extremely well-informed and I loved listening to her but I had to cut my tour short due to time constraints. If I ever go back to Singapore, I would definitely love to finish it because I was completely by the little glimpse of Peranakan life that I got in that slice of time.

Hawker Centers

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Singapore’s hawker centers are famous for offering street food in a hygienic environment. I went to Maxwell and Lau Pa Sat (pictured above), two of the most popular ones to get a feel for the local food. Many of the shops were closing down at the time I went (around 6.30) but it was still better than nothing. I searched for trademark local items like thunder tea rice, veg laksa, and veg kueh pie tee but unfortunately couldn’t find them. Oh well, another thing for next time.

The Chinatown Heritage Center

An eye-opener to the history and formation of Singapore and its people before its transformation to the glitzy city we all know now. The center recreates the lives of ordinary people like tailors, seamstresses, shoemakers and plumbers who all lived together with their families in separate rooms. An entire family of 4 or 5 would share a single, small room with a common toilet and kitchen. An audio guide did a great job of bringing to life some of these characters through anecdotes and short stories, which I thoroughly appreciated.

Fort Canning

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Fort Canning is a significant landmark in Singapore because it was the first residence of Sir Stamford Raffles, and was also a naval watchpoint from where Singapore could survey its watery borders. Sprawling and stunning in its layout, Fort Canning is a beautiful mix of military history and botanic delights like the Spice Garden. I loved this more than the Botanical Gardens for its little treasures like the sally port (pictured above) and the ancient fort gates.

My Singapore sojourn ends here. I know this is not among the best blog posts I have written and it does look hastily put together. But I wanted to write down my impressions before the smoky wisps of my memory fade away completely.

Featured image courtesy YourSingapore

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