Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Trip Down the Memory Lane

It was a rainy, lazy Sunday morning. The heavy downpour had just given way to a light drizzle. Hubby and I were hungry to go for places to fill our grumbling and rumbling tummies. We were kept at home as the then formidable sky promised a storm in the brewing.

A quick search in the Internet decided our brunch destination. The blog threw out a few to-go places for dimsum. We zoomed into Asia Grand Restaurant as it is one of the few places in town which serves dimsum half an hour early at 10.30 am compared to 11 am by most restaurants. We were so hungry that we could not wait a second longer.

Maybe it was our growling stomaches, food at Asia Grand Restaurant was glorious and heavenly. It was love at first taste for the savory century porridge. The you tiao was fried to crispy perfection and the congee was generously laden with minced meat and sliced duck meat. The chao siew bao, fried prawn dumplings and chang fen did not disappoint in both the sight and taste departments too, though the shao mie and lotus leaf dumpling were mediocre in comparison. The restaurant also scored high in their service. There was a server in charge of our table at a distance so as to avail us with the much needed privacy for our small talk. At the same time, close enough to refill our tea before the last drop was emptied.

Perhaps what I loved most was the pictureque view in front of me. I was seated opposite the full-glass window, shrouded in veil-like curtains that allowed only soft natural light to come into the restaurant. At the same time, I could enjoy the view of the magnificent, historic Raffles Hotel juxtaposed against tall and comtemporary buildings.

I noticed that there was a delivery van which stopped to deliver goods. It sent me down to a trip down the memory lane. My father was an odd-job laborer who delivered food to food stalls and small-time restaurants. I used to squat in the "cargo-compartment" of his three-wheel motorbike. These motorbikes are the regular two-wheeler but fitted with a metal cart on the side for goods. Compared to vans, motorbikes consume lesser petrol and hence cheaper to maintain. However, they are not allowed in the expressway. For such reasons, my family used to live in the city area.

After the sumptuous brunch, hubby and I braved the light drizzle to the nearby Bras Basah building. It was another of those places which held many of our still standalone memories - we had yet to meet. Hubby worked during his school holiday as pamphlet distributor, shoving pamplets to passers-by. As for me, I did not part-time at Bras Basah but I would be there to catch a glimpse of some of the xingyao singers during my teenage years. It was also there that Eric Moo launched his fledging singing career.

We headed back with a spring in our step. Our hearts warmed by the sweet memories of our past and a deep sense of gratitude of what our country, Singapore has given us in terms of opportunities for sons and daughters of coolies to also rise and reach out for our dreams.

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