It was like a scene from an old postcard or an antique pre-war film – trishaws, pedestrians and cyclist zig-zagging along St. Andrews Road, right outside the National Gallery except this time, I’m riding one of the trishaws and the calendar has just turned to a new year – 2017.
I never believed I would be doing this – riding an actual trishaw through downtown Singapore ‘fetching’ my kids! Later on, I would go on to relive the experience fetching 2 elderly folks around on a trishaw ride to take in the sights of modern Singapore.
Welcome to Car-Free Sunday SG!
What began as a pilot project in early 2016 has now become a staple every last Sunday of the month where selected streets of downtown Singapore would be closed to traffic for a few hours on Car-Free Sunday SG to allow everyone from all walks of life to…well…walk or cycle or skate through!
Recently, heritage areas like Telok Ayer Street and its vicinity were added to the list, giving everyone a chance to see and appreciate the precinct at a leisurely pace, rather than just zipping by in a car or bus. Some of these rare historic places, streets, buildings have played such a prominent part in our young nation’s history.
To add to the revelry of the event, there are different varieties of activities teach month that make Car-Free Sunday SG an event to look forward to:
During the Car-Free Sunday SG which took place on 22 January 2017, we participated in:
- Cycling Carnival (a staple feature)
- Community Ride (fetching the disabled or aged folks on Trishaws)
- Lion Dance Performance and hands-on experience by the oldest Lion Dance troupe in Singapore
- Sporting Activities (including Zumba, Step-Aerobics, Taiji and more!)
- Farmers’ Market (along Esplanade Park)
Activities aside, here are my 5 personal reasons why everyone should experience Car-Free Sunday SG:
1. Don’t drive ourselves crazy…
We all know the pressing need to conserve our environment – the changes in the weather, global warming and melting ice caps in the polar region are truly causes for concern. What better way to imbue our kids with the right values of saving the Earth than by ditching the family car at least once a month! Nothing speaks louder then role-modelling.
2. Unique experiences and memories
Car-Free Sunday SG provides many interesting activities and experiences that make for truly unique moments! Imagine the whole family, out and about on foot, on skates or with pedal power and going by some of our country’s iconic buildings and sites.
3. Inter-generational bonding:
Imagine pioneer Singaporeans telling their children or even their grandchildren stories about some of these iconic streets and places. What a great way for the whole family to bond!
4. Discovering downtown heritage…
Let the books and stories come alive as you go by these streets, buildings and places at a leisurely pace. On selected months, you may even want to join a guided heritage walk to deepen your knowledge and appreciation of Singapore. Get the kids to come along and let history come alive to them.
5. Friendship, Fellowship, Kinship
Make friends with people and Singaporeans from all walks of life. This event actually allows you to meet people from beyond just your estate, township or constituency. Expand your circle of friends, interest group or join a new one and get to know a wider circle of Singaporeans through this national initiative. Cool!
But wait, there’s more:
Apart from these exceptional experiences, members of the public can also get to enjoy some unique dining experiences that are opened for brunch at some of these historic places. During the Car-Free Sunday in January 2017, we had an exceptional brunch at ‘My Awesome Café’ which is located in the same building that used to house Singapore’s oldest medicinal hall – the Chung Hwa Free Clinic! The moment we stepped in, we were taken in by the chic, retro, funky ambience which blends the best of old and new, east and west. Such a cool cafe to be in!
The cafe serves some delectable breakfast and brunch specially planned for their menu by their French owner. What a lovely way to end our first Car-Free Sunday SG experience in this lovely joint. To find out more about ‘My Awesome Café’, go to: http://www.myawesomecafe.com/
Join the fun!
The next Car-Free Sunday SG in 2017 will be on 26 February, 26 March and 30 April 2017 respectively. Jot it down in your calendars and walk, skate or pedal your way down for a truly unique Singapore #FunForFree Sunday with your families!
For more info, go to: https://www.ura.gov.sg/ms/CarFreeZones/Events/Car-Free-Sunday