Singing the Blues at TP 1
singing the blues- images by J

Having lived in a house in a private estate most of my life, I've been used to stepping in and out of the house without seeing or having to greet any of my neighbours (with the exception of 1 Australian neighbour who seems to spend all her time gardening). J and I would walk around the estate some evenings and peer through the gates or above the walls into the expansive dark gardens and living rooms. We would guess - by the number of cars, the furniture, the presence of kiddy bikes, koi ponds and lap pools - what sort of life went on behind the dark windows.

Yesterday marked my first month living instead in Toa Payoh Lor 8. Ah yes, the heartlands.

There, even taking the lift every morning has brought familiar faces. On the 6th floor live Ali and Ana, 2 adorable children of a good-looking hotel chef. On the 16th floor there's Geroge, a quiet bespectacled 10-year old who lives with his sister, mom and aunt. They live across from K, a jet-setting executive who buys us chocolates from her travels - I think of her as a dorm-mate. On the 14th floor is the Karaoke-loving auntie who believes that croaky karaoke ought to be shared with everyone at 10amin the morning.

Last night on our walk home from the world's best BBQ wings, it was the voice of this auntie we thought we heard amplified across the open space.

We traced the noise voice to an outdoor Residents' BBQ and Karaoke Night

Singing the Blues at TP 2

Men and women in their 50s and 60s belted out the sappiest love songs, tapped their feet, closed their eyes in concentration and sometimes made up words for the lyrics they couldn't read.

What a night! Even if it was just a 15minute interlude between dinner and home.

Perhaps the Residents Committee had organised this event because the elections were coming up, and this was another platform for the minister to show his face, show that he cares and is one with the people. But how could this be a night for cynicism when it is my one-month anniversary with Toa Payoh Lor 8, its singing residents - most of whom had lived here for the past 20 years - their children and their children's children. And for this, some naive romanticism must be allowed?


tscd said…
That's really cool - neighbours meeting up and singing together. You'd never see that here.
ampulets said…
Aiyah, don't say UK - you probably won't even see this at Bishan also. I guess it takes a certain kampung-ness of that generation in the older estates.
eh, AMK got!

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