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  • Writer's pictureKay Redrup


Updated: Jan 22, 2023

On the 6th floor of the National Gallery we were treated to the best view I've seen for a long time. Below us was the Padang where a football game was going on (non-professional) and where people sat to take in the night. This is where we often watched the National Day celebrations taking place on the Padang and when the show was over and the night descended many brought picnics and sat on the grass, meeting friends and making new ones. This was also the place where the Japanese gathered Eurasians and the British to class them into those for their camps or regarded as non-threatening. My father would have stood there, with his family convincing the officials that their European bloodline was too far from their own to be a threat to the new order. Did my father look towards the Supreme Court and know he would spend so much of his working life as a lawyer later there? To one side was the Cricket Club, we were not members but I do remember going in and having a drink there. To the other side was the Recreational Club where we also were not members but I also entered those exclusive halls as a teenager. To the left was the tall war memorial (a white obelisk) and when Lily and I parted as young girls we swore that if we lost touch we would meet each other there at a certain time on a certain day in a certain year. (Neither of us can remember which time, day or year, so luckily we didn't lose touch forever). The city has grown around these monuments of my childhood. Buildings towering over the past, like guardians of its history or sentinels as reminders that time waits for no one. The concert hall (affectionally named 'the Durian) lights up the sky in a place that was hard to conceive would one day hold such a piece of architecture since it is actually built on water. Beyond the Padang was a walk way that bordered the sea (the Singapore Strait), Its waters pushed further out by land reclaimed where The Sands hotel dominates. This is not the view we once had but it is a magnificent view nonetheless. Lily and I sat sipping cocktails, talking of a past, in a building of our past , surrounded by the past and the blinging present.

The Sands Hotel

The Durians (concert hall)

The war memorial - once our tallest construction, standing behind The recreation club.

The dome of the Supreme Court.

The Cricket club, connected to the Padang

Sourdough bread with Alpine butter (not sure I understand that) and some salty but delicious accompaniment.

They called this a Tommy's margarita. I'd say Tommy didn't quite do Margarita justice.

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