26 March 2019
Sharonne and I became friends in our late teens in 1983 when we were studying in NUS. We’ve always lived on opposite ends of the island. Her home is in the east and mine in the west.
After we graduated, we went on our different paths. Of course there were the occasional meetings during celebrations, yogas and sometimes, bereavements.
Recently we met for tea at a cafe in Holland Village. Foster’s Steakhouse was established in 1960, before we were born.
Our mutual friend MG had bought Sharonne and I each a porcelain rabbit at an auction in Holland. The 3 of us were born in the Year of the Rabbit.
MG had handed her gift to Sharonne to be handed to me as her short visit in Singapore during the Chinese New Year season didn’t give us the chance to meet up.
I arrived earlier at Foster’s before Sharonne. I wanted to sit by the door where I could see her coming from the streets.
The elderly waiter in red polo t-shirt and black pants suggested gently that I sat further in where I would not be disturbed later on. He then ushered me to the seats by the big window where I could “talk to the fishes,” and admire vines hanging outside if I wanted.
So there we were, Sharonne and I, two elderly Rabbits amidst the very English setting of Foster’s, munching on freshly baked scones and gushing over the REAL paper doily that lined the plate, while the delicate antique rabbit that had travelled all the way from Holland to Singapore looked on quietly.
A young waiter took a picture of us upon our request and observed that my porcelain rabbit fitted right in with the figurines on their mantelpiece.
When the tea ended, we thanked the wait staff for keeping Foster’s in such a charming condition.
Then we walked down the street lined with old trees where Sharonne took pictures of wild orchids hanging from the branches to show her husband.
Not long after our meet up, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a picture via whatsapp of Sharonne and her family fostering family ties on the outdoor deck of Foster’s.
In our country that is constantly exhorting its citizens to reinvent themselves in order not to lose out, and where food business is notoriously difficult to maintain, Foster’s simple scones that have withstood the onslaught of colourful cupcakes, snazzy dough nuts and various food trends remind me that every thing has its rightful place in the sun, especially if it has the audacity & patience to buck the trend.