It’s raining again this morning so I’m staying in my hotel room catching up with some emails and the events of the last few days. (Same scenery from my hotel window in this photo, but a different atmosphere). This afternoon, as usual, I’ll catch a taxii to the hospital and spend the afternoon with Jill.
We both watched Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday night on TV in Jill’s hospital room. CNN is the only English TV channel that she can access. They had a good coverage of the event although the commentary was very general. I went back to my hotel after the funeral service had concluded and managed to watch the procession through London on my phone as it was streamed on the ABC. I downloaded the complete telecast from YouTube onto my computer yesterday so that I could watch it in its entirety. .
I was very impressed with the pomp and ceremony of the event (as only the British can do). I was also impressed with he number of people who had lined up to see the Queen while lying in state as well as those who stood by the road to watch the funeral procession go by. I doubt that those at the back of the crowd could see very much, but hey were there to honour their Queen. It just shows how pupoluar she was with her people (both at home and around the Commonwealth).
In the weekend newspaper here (the Straits Times) we found a description of an interesting walk around some of the colonial streets in the Civic area of Singapore and I spent a few hours strolling around them the other day to see some of the many temples..
I started at the Church of Saints Peter and Paul- a Roman Catholic Church on Queen Street. It s a heritage listed builfding, constructed between 1869 and 1870. It was erected by the Chinese Catholic Mission that served a congregation of all the Chinese dialect groups and Indian people. It became a centre for many European missionaries who needed to learn the Chinese language before other postings in the region.
One of the stand out temples was the very ornate Sri Krishnan Temple. It was built in 1870 and gazetted as a national monument of Singapore in 2014, it is one of Singapore’s oldest temples and is the only South Indian temple in Singapore dedicated to Krishna and his consort Rukmini.
Along another laneway and down Waterloo Street, I found the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple – a traditional Chinese temple that is of significance to the Buddhist community among Chinese Singaporeans. It is believed to bring worshippers good luck after praying there. I found that the temple was closed for cleaning and it had a long line of people that snaked around the street waiting to get in. Apart rom the people in the line, the street was busy with traders who were selling flowers and incense sticks.
I found that I was very close to Bugis Street. This place was world renowned in the 1950s until the ’80s for its nightlife which involved transvestites and transsexuals dressed in elaborate drag costumes. It was very popular with western tourists. In those days Bugis street was one of the most visited tourist areas of the country and raked in the biggest revenues. But after the 80s, the place slowly started losing its charm with a protests against indecency by the local residents and a fear of HIV spreading in the area.
The original street was demolished and the whole place was subjected to a massive urban makeover with a mix of malls, restaurants, cafes, street food and nightclubs. It’s street market is the biggest in Singapore. It is now been totally revamped and renovated and the only thing which remains as a memory from the past is its name..
By lunchtime, I was close to the Malay / Muslim area of town, so I found my way back to the Sultan Mosque and enjoyed an Halal Indonesian meal comprising a mixed platter of meat, curry, rice and fried fish. It was far more than I can eat but quite inexpensive and very tasty.
Back at the hospital, we have started some preparations to get Jill home. We have purchased a wheelchair from the hospital shop and booked wheelchair taxis at both ends of the trip. We have made medical appointments back home and have asked the doctors for pain medication sufficient for three days until we can back to see our doctor next Monday.
I am continuing to learn new skills – how to help Jill transfer from a chair to her wheelchair. Yesterday, I learned hpw to help her get on and off a disabled toilet.
Back at the hotel, I am very grateful for the friendship that I have developed with Pauline Wong. Pauline is the Front Office Manager of the hotel and runs the Executive lounge that I have found so comfortable for breakfasts and pre dinner drinks. Pauline had a previous career as a cabin crew mwmber on Singapore Airlines. She still carries the poise and charm of those ‘Singapore Girls’ as the commercials used t call them. She seeks me out for a conversation each evening and\ is good company.