Take a stroll down memory lane…at Everton Road.
Ever had one of those rare ‘Hmmm…I wonder what shall we do today’ days?
Well, today was it. Rare as it was because I decided, quite simply, to procrastinate, slow down and commemorate Teachers’ Day by experiencing the joy of spending a weekday morning with my own kids…for a change.
After bringing the girl for her specialist medical appointment in the morning, we decided to take a detour to Everton Road to check out the new street arts which our friend, Pamelia had shared on her FB. And boy, were we in for a surprise!
Not only was the street art there, the artist himself was there and he had JUST completed the entire art pieces at Everton Road! We had the privilege of not only meeting the artist in person but hearing him explain the inspiration behind these paintings.
The Artist and His Street Art:
Mr. Yip Yew Chong is an accountant by profession, with a love for the arts! What a wonderful coincidence! Inspired by his recent trip to Penang and also memories of his younger days, he decided to meld his passion and childhood memories by seeking permission to ‘document’ them in two unique, one of a kind, life-sized street art pieces along the corner walls of an old garage along Everton Road (read on for the address).
The artist, melding his passion with his memories.
- ‘Amah’ 妈姐
Coming in from Blair Road, we drove along Everton Road. When we reached the T-junction, we were able to see the first art piece at one side of the long wall of 40 Everton Road (the former Choa Kim Keat Garage). This is the piece entitled ‘Amah’ (means elder sister in Chinese dialects – a term used to address nanny or housemaid in the past). Inspired by scenes from his neighbourhood when growing up, Yip’s painting shows an old Amah, sitting and washing laundry by hand. Not far, placed neatly on top of an old-fashioned wooden larder cupboard are nonya kueh-kuehs and a pot of Chinese Tea, probably made by her along with old-school hot water flask and tiffin carriers. Inside the larder are clean plates, rooster bowls, granite mortar and pestle (a must have in every household in the olden days) and even a rectangular tin of Jacob biscuits. How nostalgic! A cat naps peacefully on a wooden chair nearby while a row of chicks draws our attention to laundry hanging out to dry on a laundry line.
I can imagine this being a common scene in the homes along this lane and many other kampungs in Singapore. While taking photos with the kids, I paused to take in the sight. The painting had evoked memories of our late Grandmas who had tirelessly maintained the homes and fed the family despite the lack of modern conveniences which we now enjoy.
A nostalgic family portrait on a ‘trip’ back in time.
Buddy is real…the rest, surreal.
Oh, what would i give to go back in time to savour the goodies my Grandma would make.
- The Barber 理髮店
Turn the corner of the same building to the backlane (Oh my goodness! I’ve forgotten when was the last time we’ve walked the back lanes of a housing estate!) is the ‘Barber’ street art. Here, Yip YC recreated a personal memory of getting a haircut by a barber under a make-shift barber tent. The amount of details in this art piece is astounding. As a former Malaysian growing up in Penang who used to make annual trips back to my Grandma’s kampong in Perak, this is a scene I can identify with….right down to the ‘Lau-Fu-Zi’ 老夫子 comics (where I picked up my Chinese!), the ‘Good Morning’ towels and the round spittoon.
In fact, look closely at the barber’s work-station and you’ll see, among the myriad of tools he used, a bottle of Hazeline Snow and assortment of powders to pamper his regular customers. The old styled calendar reads 12 July 1976, the birth month and date of the artist and the year he entered mainstream schooling – Primary 1, a significant milestone by anyone’s account.
That could easily been me – brushing up on my Chinese with 老夫子 comics while waiting for my haircut.
Here’s a drink to old times – Kopi in a ‘Milkmaid’ can.
‘Barber’ by Yip YC…down to the smallest details.
‘Good Morning’! The calendar’s date holds a special significance for the artist.
Meeting the artist, Yip YC himself. What a bonus!
Stop, Shoot and ‘Savour’:
Do yourself a favour: stop, shoot and slowly, take your time to ‘savour’ YC’s murals. For, like many good things in life, time has to take its course in slowly processing within each of us, the emotions and thoughts especially of the people and places of years gone by. Most importantly the lessons and experiences they have given us which form who we are today.
Faded and Lost:
Since 2014, there have been a number of street arts recreating local heritage but some, if not most, have ironically like the memories they intend to evoke, faded into obscurity (e.g. the animal street art murals at Tiong Bahru). It is our hope that these ones at Everton would be maintained and preserved to help us reminiscent those times which will never return.
It’s worth checking out the Everton street art with an elder or grandparent in the family so that they can recount more real-life tales of the yester-years to the kids. Thank you YC for rekindling these tales which would otherwise been lost.
How to Get There:
Address: 40, Everton Road Singapore 089393
There are parking lots along Everton Road. You can also park at the Multi-story HDB Carpark nearby (Block 6A).
For a list of other street art in Singapore, refer to these other bloggers’ posts: