27 November 2020
In a matter of two days this week, I travelled a 100 years through time. I celebrated El’s 46th birthday in a chinese restaurant celebrating its 42nd Anniversary of serving traditional hokkien dishes.
The next day I lunched at a cafe that was opened in 1960.
At the chinese restaurant known as Bee Hiang, it was wonderful seeing elderly diners among younger patrons sharing a meal. The ornate furnishings of rosewood chairs, endless calligraphy scrolls and showy fengshui artefacts invoking longevity & auspiciousness triggered childhood memories of weddings, reunions and prosperity. I soaked them all in and felt their blessings all over again.
At the entrance, I looked up with affection at the pair of mythical animals holding up the gold and black signboard of Bee Hiang restaurant, and made a wish for many more gatherings at this place in the days ahead.
Yesterday I was at Holland Village with friends at a cafe that serves english fare in an Enid Blyton setting. The winged sofas, the mantelpiece of ceramic animals, the glittery christmas tree and overly tinseled beams and pillars of Fosters filled me with gratitude.
This was the place that my contemporaries saved up for to buy a meal during dating days. And when we were young teachers, there was never a better indulgence with fellow classroom warriors like a Fosters’ tea with its freshly baked scones.
Memories provide an anchor to the past, a prompt to be present and a platform to venture forward.
In the current situation where food & beverage businesses are struggling to stay afloat, just being able to be around for any celebration is a feat in itself.
And so I hope the places & people that have witnessed the various transitions in our lives will continue to thrive and prosper, just so we will have the honour of saying,”Thank you for staying on through OUR ups and downs. See you again soon.”