In the spirit of celebrating Singapore’s 48th National Day and to encapsulate the essence of Many Stories, One Singapore, I am compiling my list of A-Z Singaporean things that are close to my heart. My Mommy Blogger Friend, Evelyn of The Bottomsup Blog started this initiative, Cindy of Weiz Journey and Sandra of Sanses both hopped on and today’s my turn to jump on the bandwagon!
A is for Ang Ku Kueh, directly translated as ‘Red Tortoise Cake’. A popular small round or oval shaped Chinese snack with soft sticky glutinous rice flour skin wrapped around a sweet filling (usually green bean paste or peanuts) in the centre. We gave out boxes of red Ang Ku Kuehs as take home favors at Dana’s first month party and many guests loved it! Two of the most popular Ang Ku Kueh stalls in Singapore are Ji Xiang at Everton Park and Poh Cheu at Alexandra Village.
|A is for Ang Ku Kuehs!|
B is for Bintan, though technically part of Singapore but it’s near enough to be Singaporean’s favourite island getaway. We’ve been there many times for couple holidays and company retreats. It was in Bintan that Dana first set foot on a beach, bare-footed and she didn’t like it one bit. It was also in Bintan Clubmed where she did her first flying trapeze from a height of about 5 storeys ground up!
C is for Clementi, the neighbourhood where I grew up in and where we bought our first matrimonial home. Every nook and corner bring back pleasant memories of my teenaged years studying in the secondary school and tertiary institutions here. It has evolved nicely into a self-sustaining hub with its own regional library which we visit at least once a month.
D is for Durian, an absolute indulgence for the family. We are happy Dana has taken a huge liking to the both the King and the Queen of Fruits (Mangosteen). I heard that this particular Durian Seng Seller (12 Jalan Tampang, Sembawang Garden Arcade, SG 758956) is giving away 1000kg of free durians on his birthday from 7.30pm on 19 August 2013! All you need to do is to visit him beforehand to get a name card. One person eats for free per card!
|D is for Durians and it’s Durian season now!|
E is for Evangel Assembly of God, the church where we exchanged our wedding vows. It has since moved to Yishun and renamed Evangel Family Church.
F is for Ford Focus, our first car as a couple. It served us well, seen us through the early years of struggles and transitions in our marriage. We have since driven three Fords.
G is for Gangnam Style, the K-pop hit which swept the world and Singapore by storm last year. Daddy and Dana were game enough to film a Gangnam Style Travel Video when we were holidaying in Korea last December.
|G is for the land of Gangnam Style!|
H is for Holland Village, the place where I can run a lot of errands – stock up on baking stuff from Phoon Huat and Shermay’s, get my fav ice-cream fix at Daily Scoop and have my nails done at Lush Nails. H is also for Hilton Hotel where we held our wedding banquet 14 years ago on 17 June 1999.
I is for IRC, Internet Relay Chat, the predecessor of Facebook and Instant Messenger. It played an instrumental role in our courtship days. I is also for IVF (in vitro fertilisation) – we must be one of the early couples who underwent IVF before govt. started dishing out subsidies to reverse the downward fertility trend.
J is for Jack Neo, the Singaporean comedian turned movie producer. Although we rarely watch local movies (and especially Chinese local movies), I am giving him credit for producing movies which parody societal concerns and strike a chord with the common folks like us. Our extended family had a good laugh watching ‘Ah Boys to Men’ during Chinese New Year.
K is for KKH, the Kandang Kerbau Women’s and Children’s Hospital where I was born and where I delivered my twins, Joash and Ashley. It is also the hospital where we go to for emergency childhood ailments like the time Dana busted her chin and the time she fractured her big toe. Dana was warded there for close to a week in 2010 for Kawasaki.
L is for the world-class Libraries we have in Singapore, many of which are located a stone’s throw away in our neighbourhood estates. We just discovered the newest children’s library, My Treehouse this week and I hope libraries will continue to spark the love of reading in our young. I’m also amazed that the loan limit has been raised to 16 books per person, excellent!
|L is for Libraries, the best place to be!|
M is for Maids. Apart from food and weather, the other most common conversation starters among Singaporeans is maid woes. No one will dispute that finding a good maid is akin to striking lottery. In this regard, God finally answered our prayers. After hiring 7 maids in 5 years, we finally have a stable one working in our household this year. We pray she’ll continue to be a good help to us till her contract expires next March.
N is for NTUC, my favourite supermarket chain. I like that it’s a familiar brand name where prices are kept affordable, produce are fresh and I get to earn some rebates on my purchases. N is also for NTU, where I received my bachelor’s degree in linguistics; NIE, where I received my teachers’ training and NUS, where I am currently employed.
O is for ‘Orh Luak’, loosely translated as ‘Fried Oysters’. Daddy says I have a cheap palate. He loves raw sashimi and fresh oysters but me? Give me a plate of ‘Orh Luak’ anytime, more chilli, more egg and more coriander please.
P is for Pagers, the decommissioned communication device which we use to send text or voice messages to our friends ‘Fess up if you still remember the meanings behind these pager codes: 17_31707, 07734, 123, 607. P is also for PAP, our ruling party who is responsible for propelling Singapore from a sleepy, fishing village called Temasek to a first world economy in merely 48 years. I don’t think any other country has ever accomplished this feat.
Q is for Queensway, our go-to place for nice Katong Laksa and whenever we need to get a new pair of sneakers. Q is also for Queues, our national ‘pastime’, an irony for Singaporeans whose most common complaint is ‘where got time?’. As parents, we played tag to queue overnight for Dana’s admission into her nursery…if it is possible to Q for admission to our desired primary school, we would willingly do so.
R is for Singapore Red Cross. I was a trained first aider during my CCA days in secondary school. Whenever there are Sports Day or Cross Country events, I would be one of those clad in full Red Cross uniform sweating under the scorching sun just to ensure no casualties will be unattended. Coincidentally, I am now also a certified AED (automated external defibrillator) user in my workplace.
S is for Sentosa, the place where Daddy and I first held hands 16 years ago…It has now become our family’s favourite playground with endless fun leisure attractions like the Adventure Cove Waterpark, S.E.A Aquarium, Port of Lost Wonder, Tanjong Beach, The Luge and new waterfront dining at Quayside Isle. We can’t wait for KidZania Singapore to be opened next year!
|S is for Sentosa, the place for Sun, Sand and Sea!|
T is for Tampines, used to be the second last stop on the East West Line, the estate where David lived during our courtship days. To meet up, we would commute on the MRT from Tampines to Clementi (used to be the very last stop on the East West Line) and vice versa. Those were our ‘long distance’ relationship days of yore.
U is for United Square, the shopping mall which was smart enough to position itself as a kids’ learning hub’. Dana took her first ballet lessons here at 4 years old and we threw her full month celebration at the Swenson’s restaurant here.
V is for Vehicles. Dana helped me come up with this. Even a preschooler is able to make the observation there are so many vehicles on the road. I wonder if building more ERP gantries and levying higher COEs will ever alleviate the road congestion problems which are escalating.
W is for Wonton Noodles, my absolute favourite noodles. I like those that comes served with crispy wonton (dumplings). When my cravings strike, I get my fix at Boon Kee Wonton Noodle Stall in Clementi Hawker Centre. W is also for West Coast Park, the nearest and most accessible park to us!
X is for Xiaohei and Xiaobai (Blackie & Snowie), the pair of Shih-Tzus which was our family pet for 14 years before they passed on to Doggie Heaven. Dana still talks about them fondly till this day.
|X is for Xiaohei and Xiaobai, to wherever you are…|
Y is for Singapore Youth for Christ (YFC), the organisation which led me to my faith in my young adulthood, where I was grounded in the Christian teachings in the weekly prayer meetings and half-yearly bible camps, of which I have many, many fond memories of.
Z is for Zero Point, the reason why we (the ’70s kids) look forward to recess and school dismissals. I was quite good at it. I hope one day, there will be a national revival where kids will find joy in playing such ‘kampung’ games again.