Hello, Singapore!

Well, after my late night border crossing ordeal, I spent a glorious morning relaxing, playing my friends’ beautiful Kawai piano and generally just coming round slowly. Then I headed out to visit a temple people had mentioned I should see, via the nearest coffee shop I could find to it for a posh coffee and late lunch back in a more Westernised environment. The coffee and lunch did not disappoint.

This cake was called “speculoos” cake. Intrigued, and wondering whether this was made with some particular local fruit, I asked about it and the young lady serving me explained, saying, “you know lotus? Speculoos is made with a kind of lotus”. I was very intrigued about this, especially once I tasted it, and it tasted anything but…flowery! When I googled it, speculoos is a kind of spread made with similar spices that they use in those little lotus biscuits you get with your coffee. (Made by the Belgian Lotus Bakeries company est 1932.) Did you know that? I’d never heard of it. That company’s really into something with just one main product that is found in so many places. The cake was delicious.

After refuelling, I looked at the location of the temple I was hoping to visit, and realised it was actually quite a long walk away, and would involve another long walk back to the nearest tube stop. I decided to quit while I was ahead, and just enjoy the walk back to the tube and getting back to base.

On my walks that day, I was so grateful for pavements that existed and were even and for zebra crossings, with traffic lights that people obeyed.

A storm drain – you see these everywhere in Singapore, like the levees in California, giving you an idea of just how much rain comes when it comes. Shiv tells me apparently that there is a clever system of redirecting the rainwater via these drains, so that it is taken to a plant where it is cleaned and then used as drinking water.

I was also reminded of something I noticed when I first came here. In Singapore, it seems, everyone has been thought of. In the Singaporean social housing flats, there always seem to be these outdoor gym areas, planned and paid for by the residents’ association and the local council. Sometimes there are special ones for the elderly as well. I had wondered how people keep fit in Singapore, as it’s so difficult to be outside most of the time with the humidity. Here’s part of the answer, perhaps?

7 thoughts on “Hello, Singapore!

  1. Good Morning Ali! It is 8.53 here in a very wet Sheffield, and your picture of the storm drain and description of how the water is transformed into drinking water caused me to think how good this would be now in South Yorkshire where communities like Bentley and Fishlake have been flooded once again. Thank you for all your blogs and I am sorry I have not been a diligent reader of them. I plan to sit down and read them all! I am truly amazed at your travel skills and your capacity to remain calm when not having a clue where the bus stop is etc., and to write about it all! Love from Paul

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    1. Aw thanks Paul! Perhaps storm drains are the way to go. Hmmm… I’d noticed about all the flooding. The last time that happened I was getting ordained. Praying for all those affected. 🙏💕

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  2. Like the Beeching reversal costings the man in seat sixty one was scorning the other day, I’m sure levees don’t come cheap, so you might need to levy a levy.

    I’m struggling a little with the “more Westernized” part, though I bet that does apply to Singapore, along with “richer”. I wonder when sidewalks became a sufficient priority in Britain to get a legal footing, because surely it’s that which leads to their greater ubiquity there than in suburban California, despite the greater pressure on land use in Britain, like there is in Singapore or Taiwan. In Taiwan, you could think you were in Mayfair at some points and Hanoi at others. Would it predate cars? That’d make it quite a recent thing. Keeping the, uh, effluvia off your shoes couldn’t have been as much of a life and limb issue as road traffic safety now is.

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  3. Oh – Ken and I are green with envy and wish we were there with you now. I just hope that you went a bit further than the first temple at the Liam Shuan as the rest of the monastery is much more peaceful and uplifting! Mind you as you say could be templed out by now!

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