mercredi, novembre 07, 2007

Adieu, burnt down market

A while ago, my brother informed me that the market near our old Ang Mo Kio home had burnt down. I just dismissed this news without much thought. Today, I happened to see some photos taken years ago of the hawker stalls. Suddenly, I got awoken. I am a visual person and these photos brought back much valued memories. This market had been a huge part of my childhood and even adulthood. For nearly 20 years, this was the place where we spent most of our family time together. We had breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper there. Food at hawker centers were cheap and when mom did not cook, the most convenient way was to head down to the market for a no frills cheap meal. If going to the hawker center was considered an outing, then it was the place I visited most with my father.

Stall number 1 was the mixed veggie rice stall which used to sell Yong Tau Foo. I love the braised pig trotters there. There was also this white chicken rice stall opposite the community center. I remembered having lunch there on Saturday in between band practise. The last stall sold fish soup with fried fish eggs. Yummy. Beside it was the fried oyster which was heavenly sinful.

For breakfast, we usually shared nasi lemak with prawn mee soup or laksa. Sometimes it was the fried mee hoon with porridge poured over it. It’s not yucky. You should try it. The fresh soya bean drinks was a must despite the long queue. Each of us had our own task to do. One to buy the drinks; the other to queue for the food; another one to grab seats. It was such a normal affair that I never stop for a moment to reflect on this until now. Now that I am no longer in Singapore. Now that there is no hawker center in France. Now that eating out is usually eating in a restaurant on a less frequent basis. Oh what sweet memories of this burnt down market!

For supper, we would get fried hokkien mee and also satays. I better stop talking about local food since there are no plans to go back Singapore for the rest of the year.

The stall holders were hard working people who would start from early morning until late night; sometimes selling different food between lunch and dinner. I wonder how they were affected by this great loss. I read that the government will not rebuild the market unless the stall holders contribute money as well. As the sum was huge, I doubt many would continue. Truly, if the market had not been destroyed, I guess I would never have such strong nostalgic thoughts right now.

I better clear my thoughts fast because I wanted so much to hop on a plane for Singapore and hug my family telling them “I love you all and thanks for the meals we had together at the market.” Bisous.

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