Posts Tagged ‘Singapore’


 

The cacophony of caged birds in a pet shop grate against my ears. The clip-clapping clatter of plastic plates and cutlery reverbrate throughout the wet market. The stallkeeper beside drives a cleaver down into a duck and hacks it into palatable slivers served on a plate of rice or noodles with a chilli paste dip.

The high corrugated roof in the market blends echoes of conversations and the surrounding noise into a meaningless drone. Flaky green paint hangs from the corrugated steel roof, torn from the metal as humidity and heat grazes the roof.

A group of Malay cargohands from a logistics enterprise in the warehouses nearby, Dressed in black corporate polo tees, are chatting loudly behind me with the occassional sqeal of laughter of one among them as they discuss anything but work. I turn around and see them tearing into their roti prata drenched in a spicy curry gravy with forks and spoons.

A pale, old bony Chinese retiree in a white undershirt, beige shorts and black canvas kung-fu shoes sits on an adjecent table and sips black coffee . His raised cheekbones cast a shadow over his sunken face. His eyes look weary and resigned as they scan the headlines of a Chinese newspaper. Beside him, a full table with men in ties and starch-white shirts and corporate-dressed women share a communal meal, punctuating their conversations about payments and processes with a bite on chopsticks.

The food stalls are partitioned by half-walls paved with white bathroom tiles. The floor is a dirty uniform green of tiny 70s mosaic tiles worn out and chipped in places from decades of use. Beige melamine topped tables and chairs are propped up by painted stems of steel pipes.

Large, old grey fans are perched on alternate pillars to cool the lunch crowd on a hot day in June, the peak of warm weather in Singapore. A breeze brings relief from the sunlight casting trees, benches and cemented ground in ark yellow heat except for the dark contrasting shadows it cannot not reach. A National Health Board poster features an ex-smoker father with his nine-year old son as it flaps an unhinged corner in the wind.

Landscaped palm trees along the periphery of the courtyard stand over bougainvillea and honeysuckle shrubs. They wave their long stems in the breeze and are greener for the sunshine.

The canopy of raintrees shade the pavement and cargo trucks lined along the road from the smelting heat of the sun. A distant roar of thunder rain teases the sun-soaked neighbourhood without a cloud in
sight. It will not rain today, or so I thought.