Singapore Revisited Log 5.9: Once in a Red Sun

Ever since I left Singapore, I didn't have any opportunity to celebrate birthdays with my friends anymore. It was good fortune that Tucky's wedding day was at the eve of  Ah Liam's birthday. So we had the chance to meet up for a meal and to celebrate the day Ah Liam turned into a "middle age uncle." He would officially be known as Uncle Wong, taking over the title from his dad who was promoted to Grandpa Wong. Though we could only do a belated birthday celebration, we were still happy to meet up.

Earlier in the day I was at Chinatown for some therapy. The sky was a hazy, like any day since my return. After I emerged from the shopping complex, only 2 hours later, the place looked foggy, as if I entered Silenthill. There was a distinct burning smell in the air. Further from my view was the sun, glowing like a blushing girl. I wondered for a second if that was the red moon eclipse my sister was talking about a few nights ago.

"Where are you, where are you, where are you, out already?" Tucky's text came. I was supposed to hitch a ride from him after bumping into him with his newly wedded wife while I was searching for my lighting supplies earlier on. What a small world. What the hell were they doing in Chinatown anyway? That wasn't my business to know. What I had to do immediately was to get to Tucky as soon as I could, because he must have waited for me for quite awhile. So I sprinted through Chinatown MRT station and dribbled past the human crowd like a boss, through the hawker center and finally the car park where the Little Red and his owner was waiting. The moment I sat in, I noticed my nose began to drip. Bad times to come.

Uncle Wong wanted to have "Punggol Nasi Lemak" so we picked him at Breeze and he directed us to the famous food place. I couldn't remember when was the last time three of us was in a car at the same time. We would never be bored with Uncle Wong around because he had the gift of the gab of a salesman and the humor of a stand up comedian. His charm level also over 9000. Without Uncle Wong's company, I would never agree to join a queue that snaked to the road outside - best Nasi Lemak in the world or not. We went into gaming talk and time melted away under the Singapore heat.

It was great meeting Grandpa and Grandma Wong once again. The very first time I met Grandma Wong, she treated me to a plate of fried rice with bits of Char Siew - still chunkier than Gyodon-thin Char Siew wafers than the Wanton Mee hawker served a few days before - despite them being intended to be diced and not sliced. That plate of fried rice happened 23 years ago on a hot sunny late morning but I never forgot it. Never underestimate the power of memory. Sometimes it is harder to forget than to remember. I had a happy childhood in a place I loved and called home. That was why reminiscing was a painful process for me because my future in Singapore looked monochrome as compared to my beautiful past.

I saw Uncle Wong's future in the form of baby Sarah. She was shy in our presence, which saddened me a bit. If I had never left, I would impose on the Wongs often enough to have her hugging me like a godfather whenever she saw me. Sarah was a lucky girl because she had great parents who wouldn't subject her to insanity cycle like other Singaporean parents would. (eg. gobbledegook) And that she had both sets of grandparents looking after her on regular, rotational basis, whereas little Albany could only see her grand parents once in a red sun.


  1. Just today the following articles appeared:
    Singapore Revisited Log 5.3: Where is the Cheap Food?
    Singapore Revisited Log 5.9: Once in a Red Sun

    Where are the following articles:
    Singapore Revisited Log 5.5
    Singapore Revisited Log 5.7 & 5.8
    Singapore Revisited Log 5.10 to 5.15