As you head past the site of where I went to high school, the road changes from being just Thomson to Upper Thomson Road. In the old days, it was a road leading to the country. Now is the road is four lanes bounded by shops, businesses, and tall apartment buildings.
At the intersection with one of the better paratha and murtabak restaurants is a sign marking the beginning of Old Upper Thomson Road. It is a road less traveled. You can see two lanes disappear, lost to a tropical forest that is cool, dark, and mysterious even when the rest of the city is bathed in a hot tropical afternoon sun.
I love riding on Old Upper Thomson Road. Within seconds of the first turn, you find yourself somewhere out of the city. Nothing makes sense. The air is cool. The mature hardwood trees are densely packed together. The stillness is overwhelming. With the exception of the call of birds and sound of wild monkeys, the only noise is that of your own making.
As you ride, you realize you are so close and yet so far from anything you anticipated. Yesterday is alive once more. The family groups of monkeys are along the edge, even in the middle of the road, grooming each other on the edge of the shade. Nothing appears to bother them. Their world is all consuming. Those passing through often ignore the signs to not feed the monkeys, so the locals wait, anticipating the free meal that comes more often than not.
I enjoy introducing others to this part of Singapore. Many, locals included, have forgotten or never knew an original slice of Singapore was alive and well. It reminds me that you and I are called to be keepers of this world as well as the one we live in. Others have told us of the calling. Writers left us with the reminder; “You put us in charge of your handcrafted world, repeated to us your Genesis-charge.” (Psalm 8.6)
It takes a living example to make it real.