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December 17, 2019 / Jim Fenton

Japan/Singapore Day 12: Ethnic Singapore

November 19, 2019

Tekka Centre Wet Market

Yesterday, Kenna and another spouse of someone attending the IETF meeting (or “companion” as we are called by IETF) made plans to do some sightseeing together. Wendy was still somewhat jetlagged so we decided to meet later, giving Kenna time to take care of a little more laundry she had to do. Most of our clothes could go to a full-service laundry but there were a few things that she wanted to hang to dry. She set out early for a self-service laundry she found a short subway ride away in the Chinatown district. After getting the load started there was time to do a little exploring. Unfortunately, the nearby wet (food) market was closed for a periodic cleaning. However, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, a large five-story temple, was interesting and had lots of statues, exhibits and places for people to worship. On the way back to the subway station, she was able to check out some of the shops that were now open.

Abdul Gafoor Mosque

Kenna and Wendy arranged to meet at Starbucks and from there they decided to walk to Little India. They used a walking tour they found in a guidebook and some ideas of other sights they had heard about to plan where to go. They were immediately impressed by how different this neighborhood was from other parts of Singapore. The Tan House was one of the first stops. It is not named for its color because it is actually very colorful. It is name for the family who owned it. After that they wandered around the Tekka Centre Wet Market which also has a large area upstairs with clothing and textiles. They then visited the Abdul Gafoor Mosque. They took off their shoes and wore appropriate covering to go in but didn’t stay long as there were many people having prayers. Later when they were outside again a pleasant gentleman greeted them and was helpful in explaining the mosque and answering any questions. They walked on to the Mustafa Centre, a multi-level superstore full of any kind of item you could think of, mostly imports from the subcontinent. They stopped at a nice Indian place for a delicious lunch. Then, as it was getting to be late afternoon, they moved on at a faster pace through the Kampong Glam district, a mostly Arab neighborhood, before returning to the hotel to freshen up for their evening activities.

ArtScience Museum light exhibit

After Jim was finished with his meetings, he and Kenna went to the IETF Social Event, held at the ArtScience Museum, an iconic flower-shaped building in Marina Bay. When we first arrived, it seemed the only thing to do was eat (although the food was quite good) and talk with colleagues (which is always worthwhile) but soon we discovered the doorway into the exhibit area. There were a number of rooms with different interactive art exhibits, most of which were very playful and fun. When we finished, we crossed over the Helix Bridge and back to our hotel.

This article is part of a series about our recent travels to Japan and Singapore. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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