The previous week, I had gone to the launch of the Suria Raya Karnival in Bugis. And from the last entry, you would know what a major disappointment it is. I just feel that having the local artistes to spice the place up is like papering cracks cos there is only so much they can do (and I don’t blame them for it), but if consumers and would-be patrons are not enticed to buying stuff on offer like those property apartments, cars and what-nots not associated to Hari Raya, then people are still gonna invade Geylang Serai like the annual norm they are used to. Furthermore, it was interesting to see what Geylang Serai has in store ever since the old blocks and market at Jalan Pasar Baru have been demolished.
Along with my in-laws and wife, we reached Geylang Serai at about 2:45pm last Saturday. The weather was hazy, overcast and gloomy, with drizzling here and there. “Cooling” is the word to describe the humidity level. As I have this habit of not liking to hang around at a particular stall / shop for more than 5 minutes, I took my leave and decided to walk around on my own alone.
Somehow whenever I walk around the bazaar every year, not many things look enticing to me. Maybe because I don’t have a home of my own yet, so these things kinda take a backseat. This year is no different. I just wanna see what things are available which I feel could be added at my parents’ home or my in-laws’. I was looking out for shops or stalls selling those fanciful festive lights or what we all know as “lampu kelap-kelip“. I dunno whether to be surprised or stumped cos there was not a shop or stall in sight that sells them. The closest thing I saw were two stalls selling artificial plants that have those lights embedded in them. Looks like the new trend now. If anybody knows where I can find those lights, please tell me so I don’t need to hunt high and low for them…
Mission 1 (the festive lights) was unaccomplished so I set off for Mission 2, which was to buy food back for Iftar. Normally when I go to the bazaar, I will only look out for the kebabs. Even then, I am very picky about which ones to buy out of the numerous stalls that sell them. Firstly, and also applies to other food stall, I would avoid those that have proprietors who are not fasting. I’m sure some of you would have seen some of these people munching away, drinking or smoking as they go about selling their food. Personally I don’t want to be branded as being in cahoots (subahat) with their behaviour and it turns me off from supporting their business.
Secondly, I avoid buying kebabs sold by Turkish proprietors. No, I don’t have anything against them but my tastebuds just cannot accept Turkish kebabs cos I feel that they are dry and bland after sampling a few in the past. I finally settled on the stall which is just next to the new Banquet outlet that replaced the old S-11 coffeeshop opposite the Malay Village. Oh and before that, I went to the India Muslim Confectionery shop at Onan Road to buy curry puffs. I just swear by their curry puffs that I don’t even buy those at coffeeshops or at the mosques after Friday prayers. Hehehe… So picky with food, yet I’m still so rotund!!!
As I walk around the area, I can’t help but feel angry and disappointed at certain sections of the community. Truth be told, our community still have a lot to do to live up to be a good society which can be respected by other races and religions. Teens and young couples with babies in tow having tattoos walk around and flashing them as though it’s something to be proud of. Then you also have the usual numbskulls who walk around with a lighted cigarette in hand or sitting down at a corner eating away in full view of the public.
But what stumped me the most were those volunteers who walk around with donation boxes or booklets in hand. Their intention to assist the organisations they represent is no doubt a noble cause to envy and follow but sadly their clothing left much to be desired. Some of the girls were walking around in short skirts, some were wearing tank tops, some were wearing jeans that they pull down to almost expose their butt cracks!!! I wonder if the organisations they represent had set a guideline on the dos and donts cos really it is reflecting badly on them. I was just waiting for one of these girls to come up to me so I could tell her off but none approached me. Which is why I ask myself, “Where is the respect for Ramadhan???“
No matter how many heartland bazaars that spring up, be it in Woodlands, Chua Chu Kang or even in Bugis, the majority of people will still flock to Geylang Serai and savour the atmosphere and buy stuff there. It has been a tradition and most definitely in-bred in us that it is THE place to go annually, even if you are just there for a stroll around the place. Nothing beats going there but for me it could be better without the causes for eyesore, that is, those people who spoil the beauty of this holy month…