Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Unexpected Sheltered Tomb for Tan Boon Cheng (陈文清) along Lorong Halwa [Near Bukit Brown Cemetery]

I am finally revealing what lies beyond the eerie looking road as mentioned in my post dated 19 December 2011! Gosh, i didn't realise i waited so long to disclose what you are going to read in the next few paragraphs!

It might appear bright and sunny in the above photograph but when you travel at night along this little known road that does not even have street lamps; it's an entirely different story.

Slow driving is essential for survival - besides the nearby tombstones and potholes on the road; you might also encounter wild animals that thrive in such quiet surroundings.

After a few minutes of careful driving, you would come upon this house-like structure. In my first visit, i was wondering why there is a house in the middle of freaking nowhere?!

Most importantly, my brain suddenly recollected some of the stories from the True Singapore Ghost Stories series; someone was lost in the woods and came up to an empty house which was of course haunted and blah blah blah.

However, this wooden shack (the term seems more appropriate than house) is definitely not abandoned. For example, you would have already noticed the shiny motorbike in front of the house in the previous picture.

Laundry was also hung outside for some sunlight.

The intriguing thing about this structure is not so much the outside but the inside where a tomb is located right in the middle. The shack was apparently built over the tomb as a sort of sheltered protection.

Results on internet and hearsay were mixed; some said one of the descendents lives there while others mentioned a caretaker. I am more incline to believe the former as a caretaker would likely be in the vicinity most of the times and i have never once chanced upon the person [the friend who brought me here told me the person would come back only late at night and depart when it is sunrise].

I would have loved to venture inside for a closer look, if not for two reasons.

Firstly, it would be impolite to intrude without permission from the resident and secondly, there are quite a number of dogs guarding the compound! Although they could fall under the "bark is worse than the bite" category, i am never going to risk it!

Therefore, please be thankful for the creation of zoomed lens! The headstone, as you can see, was well maintained unlike the others in the area. I could even make out some English inscriptions that the deceased, Tan Boon Cheng, was born in 1878!

So who is this Tan Boon Cheng? According to a source on internet, this man was a fortune teller! Hence, is there any underlying feng shui factor in building the shack given his occupation?

There is only one way to find out - buy some tea leaves (or beer) and wait for the resident at this table till the wee hours when he returns.

To kill the boredom (from waiting too long), observe these two eagle statues situated at the entrance.

For all you know, the stone head might start to turn towards you....


Location (How To Go There)
From Lornie Road (towards Adam Road), turn in to Kheam Hock Road. You will come to a fork, turn right again, drive along until you find a small road (on your left and known as Lorong Halwa) leading to nowhere. Turn in and drive ahead until you see the shack.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Porridge King (Used to be at Katong) @ Upper Thomson Road [Near Nee Soon Camp]

I remember The Porridge King @ Katong with fond memories; that was the first time i realised porridge can have such an uniquely intense flavour so different from conventional congee.

And it's not just me; magazines, newspapers and even television programmes had given the thumbs up when the porridge king was in operation from year 2000 to 2003 along East Coast road.

After a long hiatus, the founder of The Porridge King (Alvin Koh aka the bodybuilder chef) has decided to set up its new home at old nee soon, which is merely a short ten minutes drive for me!

Featuring lavish crystal chandeliers, glaring red walls, comfortable velvety cushion chairs and classical black tables, the decor smells weirdly of English royalty even though the logo is obviously an emperor's attire.

Put it in another perspective; it could mean a fusion of both Eastern and Western cuisines.

Golden Orange Prawn Fritters
Food presentation is akin to the first impression for any job interview. For Cavin, strands of raw vegetables that serve no purpose are just redundant.

The deep fried prawns gave no surprise but it was the zesty sesame orange dip that played the key role here. Providing an alternative fruity sensation to the taste buds, it was actually quite refreshing.

Nasi Lemak Sushi Roll
A very localised dish served in Japanese style.

Regardless of the fact that i could have three plates of nasi lemak in my favourite stall for the same price, i did enjoy the feeling of having delicious nasi lemak (sambal chilli, ikan bilis, peanuts, cucumber, rice cooked in coconut milk) in just one small bite!

Don't be deceived by the rice-like grains - they are actually pasta!

Supreme Century Egg Porridge
Cooked to a thick consistency (result of simmering over a low fire for more than five hours), this Cantonese style porridge was richer in the salted egg flavour that i dislike! I was expecting an optimal balance of salted and century eggs.

To be honest, i would have chosen Soon Lee porridge over this anytime although there are many others who are acceptable to the concentrated taste of salted egg.


906F Upper Thomson Road

Golden Orange Prawn Fritters - S$7.50
Nasi Lemak Sushi Roll - S$6.50
Supreme Century Egg Porridge - S$7.50
(Subject to Service Charge. No GST)

Click above. Kindly note that prices are subject to change!

Additional Information
Ice cold water in a mini glass pitcher is chargeable at S$0.50! Damn, i wasn't even notified on this extra charge until i checked the receipt while writing this post.

Parking is problematic as there is no public car park in the vicinity! Be prepared to park your car outside those private bungalows behind the shophouses -if you can find an available space.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

China Square Central Flea Market on Sunday - Toys, Antiques, Notes & Coins, Clothes, Stamps etc etc etc

If not for the need to escape from the blazing hot sun, i bet i would never step into China Square Central. But thanks to this chance occurrence, i have been back to this complex multiple times for their weekend flea market.

Let me clarify - a flea market stationed in a sheltered, air-conditioned area! And if you are tired of walking, you can choose from a number of restaurants and cafes (either within or nearby) to rest your feet.

China Square Central is home to a number of toy and curio stores and it's therefore quite common to see most of them renting the booths on weekend to expand their operations.

Novelty toy collectors would absolutely love this place! Thankfully i am more interested in iPhone games and food nowadays. Buying collectible toys can be such an expensive hobby!

Of course, not everything is costly. You can find good deals like S$8 for a pack of figurines or even common plushies that would not cost you an arm and a leg.

Could not find that limited edition to complete your comic set? Apology for the blur photograph; some of the booth owners can be SOOOOO sensitive whenever they see cameras.

Some wrestlers' figurines. For those who remember the televised WWF (World Wrestling Federation), there was a booth selling related stuff, including the championship belts!

A few toys brought back good memories from my childhood like those Macdonalds collectibles and smurfs. I was almost tempted to buy a few back home just to recollect the good old times!

Another category in huge abundance in this flea market is antiques, also known as old products!

Most of them should fall under 'decorative items' instead since they are not really THAT old. For example, i have seen clocks like this when i was living in the kampong.

Only things that i have never seen before can be classified as antiques (denial or not, i don't care)! For one, i have never seen this certificate of identity before.

Our generation generally love simplicity and avoid things that have the potential to clutter our home and collect dust. My parent's generation is the direct opposite!

It can be a journey back in time when you step into any of the two bigger antique stores located within China Square Central.

Items found include cassette tapes, posters from the 80s and before, paper bags that were commonly used before plastic bags, gramophone records, vintage cameras and many many more.

Booth owners would likely make full use of their limited space to display as many items as possible and it is acceptable to see new and old things being placed side by side.

Please remember that the flea market is spread over two floors with more finds on the second floor!

Surprisingly, my dad knew the existence of this flea market well before me! The main draw for him is old notes although i would advise you to be cautious in your purchase. According to Alex, some of the vendors bleached the notes and termed them as "untouched" in order to sell them at a higher price.

Peranakan wares on sale!

Books for the bookworms! For visitors keen on books, i would strongly recommend Bras Basah complex for their second hand books! Novels can go for as low as S$5 for three books.

Airplane models for the aviation buff! If you look closer in the picture, you should be able to spot angry birds airplanes (i didn't even notice them when i took the picture).

Stamps and first day cover collectors might also be able to find some treasures in this flea market. Again, philatelism is not my cup of tea.

I am more into contemporary products like the above! Sold by a company by the name of, i am actually very interested in the pixel clock for my bedroom.

One more thing that caught my attention is old prints for the focus wall in my room; was trying to find one or two prints of scenes in Singapore that i have truly seen twenty years ago.

Maybe i would have better luck on Google images.


Location of Flea Market
18, Cross Street
China Square Central
(Marsh and McLennan Centre)

Operation Hours
9am - 6pm
(Only on Sundays)

Additional Information
Interested to rent a booth?
Click the above!