Every community has it hiding places. As my mind drifts to examples from other cities, a café grocery store combination on a quiet street, a band shell nestled away from the busy streets, or a quiet vista for reflection come to mind. Singapore has its own, spread across the island in ways most do not expect. Each morning I look out to the North and I see the Bukit Timah towers. I know they are on the hill above Upper Pierce and Lower Pierce Reservoirs. I look at them and the pictures of my mind include hidden niches of Singapore with family of monkeys running free, glass water, and peace places with shade for reflection.
Singapore, like other communities, has its hidden treasures. There are one that are more obvious; night safaris, east coast beaches and parts, and local farms. Then there are the ones that you only find by accident. In discovering a few, it was the willingness to travel on an road most ignore (Old Upper Thomson Road) that revealed quiet spots that look unchanged for decades. It is also the willingness to see and explore based on that sight.
One writer noted how “you get a hint at the diversity of resurrection glory by looking at the diversity of bodies not only on earth but in the skies—sun, moon, stars—all these varieties of beauty and brightness.” (1 Corinthians 15.40) Temples on HDB corners, cafes and pubs at the end of potholed roads, and dams that do not make most maps come to mind, and these are the ones that I know about. The signs are here, indicating that there is more.
In the gentle breeze of the morning, I look at and enjoy the hints. The steam rising off the trees in the botanical garden and Demsey Hill, the morning sun’s reflection off the high-rise buildings in the east, the movement in the container cranes in the nearby docks. There are places and people waiting for discovery. I know it will feel new, even the things that have been around forever.