12 November 2006

A Weekend Outing Into The Past

Last Saturday, my wife, the young man (my 15-year old son) and I were pining for the toasted buns and hot drinks sold at a coffeeshop at the corner of Purvis St and Beach Rd:

The coffeeshop had a retro decor - it had marble tables and wooden chairs which were common in coffeeshops of the 1960s. The setting reminded me of the Heritage Road Show at the National Library. The 2-day show was part of a series of events called Explore Singapore!, "a multi-faceted campaign which encourages everybody to embark on fun and fascinating journeys to discover our island's colourful past, rich heritage and vibrant cultures". (The campaign is jointly organised by the National Heritage Board, National Library Board and Media Development Authority and lasts from Nov 2006 - Jan 2007.)

Since the National Library was just a stone's throw away from the coffeeshop, we decided to drop by for a visit. When we reached the Plaza of the National Library, it was past 5.30 pm (the show was to end at 6 pm):

(I just heard from the news that the show attracted the public to contribute over 700 old documents. You could read about the top 10 rare finds on 11 Nov 2006 here.)

By the time we reached the library, we must have missed the crowds:

However, I still participated in whatever way I could - I went up stage to kick a chatek (which is a type of shuttlecock). It was a game I used to play as a kid and I was very good at it. I could manage more than 100 kicks at one go... but that was more than 4 decades ago! To win a prize, I had to kick the chatek at least 5 times at one go:

(The man in the above photo was not me but someone who went after me.)

Although my ankle was still hurting from a bad sprain, I managed to kick the chatek 6 times and was awarded a keychain which reminded me of a landmark that no longer existed:

If you have missed this event, don't fret because you still have time to catch the others. Just refer to this website or the posters at some bus-stops for more juicy details:


Anonymous said...

I was there from 3.30 to 5 pm. Dampened by the rain and traffic jam.

zen said...

Nice feeling drinking and eating snacks at old coffee-shop, meanwhile traveling through memory lane. Do not under-rate this type of eating establishment. It was the birth place of our local fare -a combined set of kopi-O, bread & kaya (butter an option) and half boiled eggs. Ya Kun could not be where it is, (including oversea), if not for these humble foods.

chuck said...

The roti and kopi looks good.
As for the chatek I can kick not more than 20 at one go. I rememberd playing chatek as a kid. We form two teams and try to reach the goal of reaching 300 or 500 kicks first. The losing team will pasang. They will throw the chatek to one of the winning member who will kicked the chatek as far as possible. If the chatek is caught, he is counted out.It goen on till all of the members are counted out.

Victor said...

There are not many of such old coffeeshops left in Singapore. I know that there are a few in the Chinatown area, e.g. in Keong Siak Road. (Especially to Chun See, I visit that area only for the coffee.) There are also some in the Joo Chiat and Katong areas (Chin Mei Chin in East Coast Rd is one of them.) River Valley Road has a Malay one that serves very good teh tarik. All of you should visit these coffeeshops and have a cuppa before they all disappear from the face of Singapore completely.

The toasted buns and coffee/tea at the Purvis St coffeeshop are really good. In my opinion, they can rival or even beat those served by Ya Kun. Cheaper some more - $1 for one kaya/butter bun and $0.80 for a coffee/tea with milk.

zen said...

Talking about local food, I remember my late friend Mr Lee, a Hainanese cook. During his illustrious career he cooked for many top dogs of the government hospitals. One day I jokingly asked him whether he could do a turkey as good as the Ang Mohs in X'mas time. He told me to visit him during x'mas time, though he was not a Christian, to taste one. So the visit took place, to my surprise not only his turkey was beutifully prepared, other dishes (local & western, hot or cold) were served, and the end of the eating party, everyone present concluded that the food were simply delicious.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, missed the Heritage Road Show. Did u know that during our recent D&D, they gave away chatek (plus a paper balloon and a bottle of water) as door gift, Victor? The theme for the dinner is called "Back to School". But everyone I spoke to thought the chatek was a CHEAP idea. Hehe... So Victor, can tapau the teh tarik from River Vally Road? hahaha..

But let's come back to food which interests me the most. Zen, I guess Mr must be passionate over food. If you have the passion for something, chances are you would excel in it.

Victor said...

Zen, since he is such a good cook, how about inviting Mr Lee to come cook for us at the upcoming X'mas function which Chun See is hosting at his place? Oh wait, did you mention "late" Mr Lee? Well it's alright, we are very patient and are always willing to wait for good food, however late.

Chris, your comments always have so much typo errors, sometimes it is difficult to comprehend what you mean. Which "Mr" are you talking about? If it is "Mr Lee", he's only late, don't make him missing okay?

zen said...

Though the word late is a bit misleading in my comment, but it sounds better than 'deceased', especially when the story leads readers to food.