Saturday, April 17, 2010

A walking tour

A bit of trivial for the Singaporeans out there. Any one knows which street in Singapore has a chinese temple, a mosque, an indian shrine & a methodist church ?

It's a little street called Telok Ayer Street located right smack in the middle of CBD (Central Business District).

Another trivial - Telok Ayer was named after Telok Ayer Bay, the malay name "baywater". Back then it was the coastal road. Just imagine, most of the Shenton Way area is reclaimed land.

It's not far from my office. In fact I probably walk past some of these landmarks everyday without giving it a second glance. Last weekend, I became a tourist once again & brought The Girl on a walking tour.

Right after you exit Tanjong Pagar station in the direction of Telok Ayer Street, you will encounter the first of the landmarks I talked about - the Chinese Methodist Church. In case you're wondering why it's called that, you just have to take a look at the very red Chinese roof.

Walking along Telok Ayer, you'll see the Al-Abrar Mosque, also known as the hut mosque. It has come a long way from it's humble beginning as a thatched hut.

I must have walked past this dozen of times without realising what it is. The Nagore Durgha Shrine, erected in honor of an Indian holy man, now used as a place of worship by Indian Muslims.

The famous Thian Hock Keng Temple is of course on Telok Ayer Street too but since it has it's own website, I thought it should have it's own post.

I really enjoyed walking around this area on a lazy Saturday afternoon without the usual hustle & bustle. I noticed things I never did before when I was rushing around during lunch time. The shophouses along Telok Ayer & Amoy street are gorgeous. Most are beautifully restored & are either offices of advertising agencies or hedge funds.

The Fuk Tak Chi Temple which was dedicated to Tua Pek Kong is now a museum. Since it's part of Far East Square, most people use it as a short cut to Telok Ayer Street without even giving it more than a cursory glance. I'm guilty too.

So imagine my surprise when The Girl excitedly pointed out what she called "the playdough city". It's a miniature depiction of the lives of the Chinese immigrants back then. How could I have missed that before !

Crossing Church street, we come to Yue Hai Ching Temple which is actually on Philip Street. This temple I pass by all the time & each time, I say I have to check it out. Now armed with my camera, we ventured inside.

I could not take a shot of the burning incense without a highrise behind it, which seem to be the case of all my photos there. I love it that one of the most traditional part of Singapore is located in the midst of the one of the most urban area.

In the background is OCBC Centre which by the way was designed by I.M. Pei (another Singapore trivial). He who designed the Bank of China building in HK & the pyramid of the Louvre. At that time, I remember OCBC Centre being the tallest building in Singapore.

Within the temple grounds, there was a makeshift stage. They didn't post their performance schedule but I wonder when I can bring The Girl to watch a Chinese wayang. Come to think of it, it has been ages since I last watched one.


Beau Lotus said...

I used to work in MND Bldg light years ago, and had always walked past without looking on my way to work and back. It is a good thing that you've decided to give your surroundings your attention - that's the wisdom that comes with age (and living away from home for a long time). :-)

petite fleur said...

Being away for so many years has taught me not to take things for granted. Who knows how much longer we'll be here for. I want to take advantage of my time here & in the process, perhaps instill that in my daughter as well.