December 5, 2012

Tiong Bahru

I was there just a couple of days ago to meet someone, and then today to meet another. Tiong Bahru is always my favourite haunt. I visit the estate because it is always quiet and tranquil in those hours I usually go there. I would either sketch or simply have a coffee to chill in the traditional kopitiams, which are fast disappearing, either due to the owners getting old and retiring, or the shops are taken over by developers or chain coffee shops.

楗柏 Auntie not around.

This is the infamous Chwee Kueh (steamed rice flour made in the shape of a small saucer not more than 5cm in diameter) stall because they serve the best Chai Poh (minced and braised radish in oil) in town. The stall owner, a lady in her 50s or early 60s went to the restroom as I was about to sketch her in... and I finished the sketch before she returned.

Durian seller @ Tiong Bahru, Eng Hoon Road

Tiong Bahru has all kinds of knicks knacks only if you keep your eyes open for them. There are many that have gone and sometimes I regretted not sketching them. Today I chanced on an unker prepping his durians, by scrapping the dirt from the husk, and checking for the unripe ones, for sale later. From the looks, he is already in his 90s, old but still going strong! At the coffeeshop where I sketched, I felt like I was thrown back in time, savouring every moment that has not been touched by urbanisation and modernisation. Not against these, but there are times when you don't want to progress too quickly.