Thursday, March 3, 2011

the harpers' visit to singapore 2011

this is not the harpers' first visit to singapore. since leaving singapore in the 50s, john harper and his family, including his now grown-up children, have visited singapore a few times. but this was my first time meeting john and his lovely wife ann. john is one of my more ardent blog followers. he has been making comments regularly in my blog and on facebook.

when john wrote to me earlier this year about his intended visit and his wanting to meet up with me, i racked my brain to think of places that may excite someone who had spent some years in singapore. however, my apprehension was needless because john had a list of the places he wanted to visit.

first, he wanted me to go with them to sungei buloh wetland reserve after having read about my several encounters with the smooth otters and the crocodiles. from the onset, i had to tell john that i could not guarantee that we would definitely see otters or crocodiles at the reserve. as it was high tide, i took him to the mangrove walk where i pointed out to him the tree-climbing crabs and the giant mudskippers.

as luck would have it, we came across a juvenile crocodile basking in the sun along one of the not so travelled tracks. this was also my first time seeing a crocodile on the track. in all my previous sightings, the reptile was in the water. we managed to get within 10 metres of the crocodile to take the picture.

on another day, we made a trip to the last surviving kampong in singapore - the one at lorong buangkok. nothing has changed much since my last visit to the place in 2010. we were fortunate to meet the lady who owned the piece of land on which the kampong is built. she was most accommodating and helpful, teaching us how to deal with the dog in one of the kampong houses.

the other place where i joined the harpers for a visit was the thow kwang dragon kiln at lorong tawas. we had to reach there by 8.00 pm that friday because there was a pre-tour briefing before the start of the wood firing. there was quite a crowd that night, with a festive mood in the air. again, we were privileged to have the owner of the kiln with us to give us a history of the place and to explain the firing process.

this was the farewell dinner john and ann hosted for some of the foyers (friends of at fatty weng's restaurant along guillemard road. chun see (of good morning yesterday) commented that one of us would blog about the place. victor koo (of taking up the challenge) would be the best person to blog about it because he used to live close to albert street. the other person who could blog about it is peter - a guest blogger of good morning yesterday.

that day was my first time eating at any fatty weng's restaurant. i had heard about fatty weng when it was at albert street in the 60s. i was also aware that it moved to guillemard road in the 70s and subsequently into the singapore badminton hall sometime in the 80s. today, it is back on the same place.

like chun see, i also wondered if it was the same one from albert street. when you have made a name for yourself, many others will latch onto the name. there is a fatty weng in the bencoolen street area and there is even one in a food centre at block 155a bukit batok avenue 8.

chun see, peter and victor all took time off to show john and his wife around places nostalgic to john. they were especially impressed by peter's knowledge of the changi area.


Lam Chun See said...

I brought them to Hortpark. The last time they missed it becos it opened shortly after they left. Glad to see a big red-tail catfish there. We are now rearing a small one in our pond at home.

Lam Chun See said...

Around 1990, I brought an American guest for lunch at Fatty Weng's. At that time, the restaurant was within the former Badminton Hall complex and air-conditioned.

yg said...

chun see, the redtail catfish is one of those river monsters? they can be very big. the feed on smaller fish?