to see the world and the living room
This being the weekend when Singaporeans are busy booking their year-end packaged holidays at the travel fair, it is apt that J and I overheard bits of this conversation (well, it's more like a monologue) at the Kiliney Road Kopitiam -
Woman: Yah, when I was in Hokkaido last year, it was hard to find this
Hey, 700 square kilometers is pretty large an island to have to trek around for folks who prefer to lug around a suitcase.
Unfortunately, save for our rather obsessive bike rides to this, us amps cannot claim to have contributed much to domestic tourism this year as well. But Saturday evening, we overcame our inertia to find our way to a part of the island we seldom venture to - Bukit Timah. Or to be precise, Upper Bukit Timah.
If Katong was our genteel east, where old money built their seaside homes and breathed a little easier, then Bukit Timah is where they eventually landed their wealth. Unlike the east, whose refinement got reclaimed together with the shoreline, Bukit Timah continued to be where their grandchildren (or those aspirational families) continue to populate the bungalows and condominiums and patronise the fancy "specialist" grocers and butcheries. Well, it's therefore not surprising that ever since my junior college days and a brief stint volunteering at the old Salvation Army Store's sorting house, Bukit Timah is a part of the island J and I don't have much reason to frequent. But we found one to warrant a Saturday evening bus ride from Toa Payoh to Upper Bukit Timah Road.
random shot off from a cab across the island.
We got off bus #157 at the Bukit Timah market and hawker centre. That was not the reason for the bus ride (at least not this time), and neither was it the old skool Beauty World Shopping Centre and Bukit Timah Shopping Centre. So we headed past both shopping mall
The cluster of low-rise buildings that used to be the Bukit Timah Fire Station was turned last year into another one of those hip "lifestyle" places, a la Dempsey and Old School. This one houses several offices, schools that teach stuff like photography and digital arts, a spa, a bistro called *surprise* Fire Station... and our destination - Raw Kitchen.
Housed in a single-storey unit in the innermost corner of the whole compound, Raw Kitchen is nothing if not charming. That night, all the chairs in this small, owner-run restaurant were placed in its backyard where Substation's associate artists, collective Mux were giving a performance. For more than an hour, we sat, sans dinner, just relaxing and listening to this group of very young, talented folks:
We shot this on the iphone, but you can watch a recording of their performance specially by Common People made in a living room by clicking here. If you want to get out of your living room to Raw Kitchen, it's at 276 Upper Bukit Timah Road. Warning: It's not a live music place, in case you are mistaken.
*Place names in Singapore