11 Apr 2010

Slow train to Singapore

On Friday night Repin and I took the train to Singapore to visit with our grand daughter, Sophia. Since we took the night train, I slept all the way there. However the bunks we got this time around were not really good - both were upper bunks and too near the door, which kept opening and closing throughout the journey. Some passengers dont seem to be able to read the notice on the doors - " Please Keep the doors closed".

Anyway we arrived the next day  in Singapore to a wet drippy morning. IT was aining quite heavily and the queue for cabs were a mile long, so Repin and I decided to take our brunch at the beautiful and warm cafe they had there. As we walked towards the cafe, I was again struck by the beauty of the station's architecture. This station was built during the colonial era - by the then British administration. It is Victorian in design, with very high domed ceilings. In fact the on the walls are still inscribed the words F M S R - which means "The Federated Malay States Railway". I hope they preserve this fine building and not destroy it . There is a long history of  dissension between our two countries over the Railway Station. The station itself is in Singapore but the Malayan Railways belong to the Malaysian Government. Neither country wants to budge over who owns the land and right now there is a sort of uneasy peace. As for us consumers, we wish whoever is in charge would maintain the place. I think if the Singapore Government had been given the station they would have modernised it and made it a gleaming and highly efficient mode of transport. Right now, the building is the only thing that looks stable - typically British made - big, strong and reliable.

Singapore has not changed much. I love looking at the greenery as we drove along  Nichol Highway. That's what I love about Singapore - inspite of its fancy looking buildings and modern lifestyle there are lots of green areas. Huge rain trees line the highway and almost every street has trees planted along them. Today Sophie has a friend's birthday party, so Repin and I made our way to Parkway parade for lunch and a bit of shopping. We went to the little Indonesian restaurant there - great Indonesian food and also some Nyonya dishes, especially the desserts. Delicious!

                                                                                                           The beautiful hall of the Railway station

Sophie now is into the Mr Men and Misses nowadays - just like Rizal was when he was young. In fact there is a revival of the Mr Men accessories now - lots of Tshirts and other Mr men toys. She loves the books of course.