Spent the weekend in sunny Singapore with my relatives. On Saturday, I met up with Rachel, a dear high school friend who moved to Singapore 4 years ago to study at the nation’s most prestigious university. (And she’s graduating in a few days! I’m so incredibly proud of her.)
So on Saturday morning, I hopped on the MRT and rode it all the way to Bugis. It was a 45-minute journey, and time seemed to crawl by without anyone to talk to nor music to listen to. I’d left my earphones at my aunt’s place. Oh well. The ride was quite refreshing, actually. Riding the MRT alone, I was reminded of all the times I took the subway around New York City (needless to say, the MRT was way cleaner and didn’t reek of urine). I’ve missed the freedom that came with a surge of independence, coupled with the excitement for adventure.
Our first stop was Artistry, a quaint spot that doubled as a cafe and an art gallery. We each ordered a plate of Belgian waffles — crispy grid-like blocks served with a scoop of fig and honey ice cream and maple syrup. Perfection.
After lunch, we strolled down Haji Lane and I fell in love with the niche array of vintage and urban boutiques. Well, the stores weren’t the only things that caught my eye.
I was drawn to the architecture and the vibrant colors that stretched ahead. The place was swarming with tourists (like myself) — you could tell from their accents that they hailed from various parts of Asia and Europe. It was a nice day to be exploring Singapore on foot. For once, it wasn’t raining. Not yet, anyway.
Oh, and that’s Rachel! She was an amazing guide. Had she not suggested Haji Lane, I wouldn’t have known about it. She took me to shops that sold non-mainstream clothes and utensils, things that you would probably find on Etsy.com and Urban Outfitters rather than at H&M or Forever 21. I’m so glad that she took time off her busy schedule so we could hang out and catch up on all those years that we missed. She’s such a sweetheart!
As we were leaving, a random guy with a notepad approached us for a brief survey he was doing about the artwork. He asked our opinion on the art that lined Haji Lane, and his final question was, “Do you think that art should suit the setting? And do you think the art on Haji Lane is too bold for the street’s conservative character? Should it be something different, something that reflects the street’s nature?”
I thought that was a rather interesting question. My response was, “I think that art should stand out, because artists don’t create masterpieces only to play the role of a wallflower, subtly muted into the background. And no, I don’t think the artwork on this street is too bold. In fact, the art on Haji Lane is gorgeous — it’s vibrant and contemporary, and I can see why some might think it contradicts the historical, conservative culture of this street. But the shops on this street are anything but conservative. You’ve got colorful bars, tattoo parlors and heaps of stores selling edgy apparels. So I think the art actually stands out in a great way; it boasts a character of its own — loud, urban and attention-grabbing. And I think that’s the whole purpose of art — to evoke emotion — be it awe, shock or curiosity.”
Next stop, Bugis Plus. Singapore’s peppered with malls. They’re like fire hydrants sprouting up in the city — there’s one on every corner. She treated me to bubble tea at Koi. (Confession: There was a time last year when I’d drink bubble tea like, 3 times a week because I was addicted. I eventually broke out of that and quit completely, until this.)
And then we made our way over to another popular tourist attraction: Clarke Quay. It was by the river, so there was a nice little evening breeze billowing at us as we strolled past the long stretch of restaurants.
We settled for this really amazing Japanese restaurant for dinner, and then managed to snap some gorgeous night shots of the city’s skyline by the water.
And that wraps up my Saturday in Singapore!