Sunday, August 23, 2015

A trip to my childhood place with Lovecyclingsg folks - 23th Aug 2015

@ the Iconic Dragon Playground
This weekend I brought Lovecyclingsg folks to visit my childhood place - Toa Payoh. Route here in case you like to do this by yourself.  
The route 
This is a ride that we have done several times and I still enjoy doing it. 
Glad to see the old friend - Ming Tian rejoining us for a Sunday ride. 
I like this ride very because I could share my memories of the place. With the small snippets of memories, inform folks how much of the place are already gone and how much are kept.
We started at Potong Pasir MRT and after a short briefing on the route, visited the first point of interest. That is Blk 108 Potong Pasir. This is the place where Mr Chiam did 27 years of Meet the people session as their MP. It's a humble spot and I am very inspired by his passion and dedication. 

Block 108 have become an exercise area
Folks at the spot of Mr Chiam MPS area
Then it was a slow roll towards Toa Payoh Lor 8 when I stayed with my Ah Gu/Ah Gim. My parents were both working long hours and Ah Gu place was the closest to Pei Chun Primary school. 
I showed the riders the place Ah Gu used to do his morning exercise with his Dahon bike. 
Thats my primary school
I was pleasantly surprised  how much I don't  know  about my child hood place. Woo sisters shared with me a location near kim keat which didnt look much. However it was part of the landscape  of Toa Payoh. Its a vegetable distribution "centre" except its just a small road.  This is been there since 1980s and its still in operation! 
Vegetables would come from Malaysia in truck, dumped at the side of the road for distribution
She also shared with me a very old bakery that have been there for 40++ years. Its located just opposite the original Pei Chun Primary premises
old and still working
Old style loti (bread) 
Later on we cycled to the Toa Payoh Dragon playground and also the central garden park. These are also the place where many senior riders have some nice memories. I am glad that its been kept and not changed totally beyond recognition. This is important and difficult to do due to space constraints. Buildings, places are a way for people to anchor their memories and then create a belonging that makes it a home.  
Jan showing  his personal memory. His wedding!
As we dispersed the ride, I went to find my "old friend" at the near by playground. I am so relived its still there! Moved out of the main  area but parked at a corner. Hello friend, its good to see u!
I have shared my story, several times over. Anyone like to share their child hood place? 

My old child hood friend. Abit battered but still standing! 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Family trip to Penang...with a brompton in a bag

For the SG jubilee week, we took a relaxed trip to Penang. Naturally I had to bring my foldie along.  Not for the campaign for a lane event but basically as a effective way to get around to see the sights. This was how I did it using the bag by Vincita. Deflate abit of air from the tyres.. put the brompton in. Zip up and go. 
packing my Brompton in the Vincita Bag 
hand pump, cage and multitool kit
Cayla and Momo posing with SG favorite food - Chicken rice @ Changi airport 
It took us 1 hr flight time from Singapore to Penang. Flying via budget air was uneventful but pleasant. Landed in Penang and we went searching for a late lunch. 
Desmond and Cayla leading the way
Penang street has lots of art that shares with u the information of the street in a art/fun way
This was our 2nd visit to Penang. What I like about it was the street food and also the electic art murals that are spread around the old historical area. Old and grity but it somehow draws me closer to it. Anyway, here's some photos of the street food.
a typical roadside stall @ Penang
Food tastes best with company dont u think?
Char kway tiao - sorry for the blur photo ... I was shaking with excitment
so lovely kway tiao soup. 
Needless to say, we stuffed ourselves silly with CKT, wanton noodle and many many goodies. Reflecting on the food, I felt the one that was most memorable was actually the simple Kway tiao soup at Bangkok Lane.
It's really hard to have a simple dish that can stand out among so many good food. I felt it did because it was simple, honest cooking. We asked the lady what was the "magic". She told us, they had to put the pig bones, and whole duck to make the soup base. It will take several hours and later on, shred the duck meat. The fish ball was also manually made. Not bought off the super market."Alot of work but ok lah.... " The lady said. 
Look out for this stall at Bangkok lane
shy owners when we gave them a thumbs up for the super noodle soup. They were smiling ear to ear!
There is really a lot of pride in what they do. And this is sadly not the case in Singapore local street food. I think our reputation for having best street food paradise in Asia have been overtaken by cities like Penang. Really.
Coming back to cycling bit in Penang. 
When you go on family trip, one of the way you can get some cycling is to wake up early. Do an hour or so and by the time you come back, it's just nice for breakfast. Easy and relaxing. 
The early morning light also gives the town a nice tone
Stay lighted on the rear
beautiful art that complements the gritty rundown environment. 

trishaw for carry goods. Eco and cheap.
Best of all if you want to earn more brownie points for your next bicycle or bike adventure, offer to pick up all the stuff your missus wants and carry it back via the bicycle. Its really effective!
uncle painting over the old coffee tins
Local kopi brand
carrying coffee orders for the missus - photo credit Desmond
Looking at the town, I also noted that there were more and more hipster cafe sprouting up like wild mushrooms.... like this one. 
cafes like this can be found all over Penang....
Frankly, I am not sure if this is a good thing. I feel that alot of the original Penang lifestyle is being hollowed up, making way for yet another hotel or cafe. As I admired the creativity of the art mural
pieces and nice fancy cafes, I could see many elderly sitting in a corner, looking dazed and empty. They must be wondering...."what the hell is happening to my community"  
The irony of me writing this is that I am also guilty of intruding to their space and lifestyle. :(
old uncle trying to get by collecting cardboard and drink cans. 
What would be a good balance of keeping the old and introducing the new? I hope the people of Penang would be wise enough not to milk the golden goose too much. And this is something we should also reflect on for our sunny island. Are we also going to fast too soon? What are your thoughts? I love to hear from you.
My photos link of the nice experience here