Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hujan Emas Di Negeri Orang...

...lebih baik hujan batu di negeri sendiri.
How apt this adage is for us, and for different reasons.

Our annual "balik kampung" trip to Singapore is probably icing on top of our cake! It is usually an Aidilfitri affair except for this year because most of the kids -- my nephews and nieces -- were sitting for their national (UPSR, PMR and SPM) exams. Our visit this year had to be resheduled for Aidil Adha when everyone was "free" and it coincided with the school year-end holidays.

This means that there were no all-day Hari Raya rounds of visiting our uncles, aunts and senior cousins. Therefore, no feasts.
This was the fourth consecutive year that we had opted to stay at a hotel on Orchard Road, and not at our aunt's place.
This is because our aunt and her husband who are living with their daughter, are both quite unwell. So we really did not want to trouble them, and we had to go through great length to explain to our aunt why it was near impossible for the lot of us to stay at her place.

We know Cik Ah. She'd insist on cooking every meal -- from breakfast to dinner -- for us.

We felt she was just too frail to be doing this for us. We see her get older and more frail with each passing year.

But we made a deal with her -- we'd let her prepare a feast for us every annual visit.

"That's the least I can do," she had told Nina.

So, for the past four visits, hers was the first house we'd gather at. Depending on our arrival time, we'd either have brunch, lunch or dinner at her place.

It was no different last week when the busload of us descended on Bedok, Singapura.

And what a lovely lunch it was.

We decided to stay in Singapura a day longer than we usually did. This was because the kids had been complaining that our visits had always been too short.

"Tak puas-lah," they had lamented.

It was great to stay a day longer. Besides, our niece, Saleha (a grandaughter of my late eldest aunt) was holding a "tahlil" for Bapak and our family members who had passed on.
We had also wanted to visit my dad's surviving brother whose health was declining.

Saleha made a point to have us all for tea or "makan" everytime we visited. It was an occasion to also get everybody together, including those we were unable to meet.
It was wonderful, as usual.

But the downside to our visit this time around was the fact that we had to have our meals around Orchard Road.

In the past, we would have our day revolve around our visits to our relative's homes. Which means that, we'd have our meals taken care of. So, when we were out shopping, we'd just grab snacks here and there. No problem.

How we had taken this for granted. We never actually thought about this. Until last week.

As we were out "traversing" Orchard Road, we realized that we had to have our meals -- essentially lunch and dinner -- within the vicinity.

I am convinced that there are not enough eateries in Orchard Road. Most of the restaurants were crowded and we had to wait in queue like we had never stood in queue before.

It's not as though we could go to another place when the place we had gone to was crowded. It was full house with a long queue at the other eateries. I remember the food court in Paragon was just brimming with people that it was better to wait in line -- like 20 minutes -- than to look for another makan place elsewhere.

The one marked difference between shopping complexes in Singapura and Malaysia is the availability of and accessibility to eateries.

Imagine, queuing up at Swensen's? Well I never....

Of course, the first night we were there, we had our dinner at Carousel's in the Royal Plaza on Scotts. It was a buffet. Lovely. $55.50 per person. So, all you can eat and it was worth every cent. But, every night there? Don't think so.

That was why, my niece, Marisssa was already missing "shopping in KL".

And when we got to KL on our way home, the kids waved so hard at Mid Valley Mega Mall.

"Ooooh. I love you Mid Valley," screamed Shaira. And not that she is a Mid Valley regular. But she was remembering the oh-so-wonderful varieties of eating places there.

"I can't wait to go to the Mamak shop," Adel said, breathless.

"And all the makan places at Ikano and One Utama," chipped in Amalina.

Oh yes indeed. It maybe golden raindrops across the causeway......but there's nothing like home.

That's where the heart is. And will always be.


Anonymous said...

aina, welcome home ! missed u lah !
wow, buffet = s$55.50/head, WOW !
almost rm130/= per person though eat what u can ! how much can u eat man !?

Anonymous said...

I was in Spore two weeks ago. Stayed in Golden Landmark Hotel, near Zam Zam Restaurant, Arab Street.
My kids enjoyed the stay, and we drove to Sentosa Island for two days.
But the jam at JB Causeway was terrible!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ka Nuraina! Greetings from Brunei! I love your blog and am an avid follower!!I couldn't agree more about the eateries in Singapore, despite the cropping up Ayam Penyet eateries at Luckly Plaza and Far East Plaza, we still feel KL malls wins hands down when it comes to food!

Anonymous said...

hello kak ina,

I'm a silent reader here from sunny Spore :)

You descended at Bedok?? That's literally my turf!!

Keep writing. I look forward to your updates :)


Anonymous said...

envy those could AFFORD to spend
there , my rm is shrinking lah !

tarings said...

It's always nice to read about busload of family members sharing precious time and having fun together. Great aunts, uncles and second cousins and nephews and nieces twice removed, all in the thick of things.

But I just enjoy reading them heart warming write ups. Family to me is just me immediate family. I barely know some of me uncles and aunties, let alone me cousins, great uncles et al. I dunno. Maybe it's a loss but am not complaining. I prefer it that way.

Keep the bond that y'all have, at all cost.

Anonymous said...

at all COST !? tanpa duit2, how to have gathering/reunion man, khasnya di bandar singa !?

ipv6 said...

Annoy,if ya start to converted everthing ya will only left out wth roti prata (canai) ;)

Anonymous said...

You really had a good break. No wonder the boys never had it enough.

To the rest of us, just click Tok Mommy's for the pictorial event.

Anonymous said...

One of the things I can't stand about SG is the queuing: queuing to eat, queuing to sit, queuing to see Barney in the middle of a shopping complex, queuing to get your kid into kindy, queuing to leave SG, queuing to come back into SG... and all this does not include the fact that I hardly take public transport, which would mean that another large portion of my life here could have been spent in more queues!

Tip to eat at Orchard, makan time pelik2 - like 11:30 for lunch, 6:30pm for dinner. Esp at those Ayam Penyet places at Lucky Plaza. Or just go to Bedok Corner, Arab St etc (there are a few new restaurants on Kandahar St, across from the Malay cultural centre, that's pretty decent). But yeah, KL (or even JB) wins in terms of food, hands down.

Ahmad Nizam Abbas said...

easier to find food in KL than in Singapore ? hmmmm we will traverse up North from Xmas to New year for our annual KL trip and so I will reserve my comments until after my trip ....heeheehee
. We are open to suggestions for yummy (but not too expensive) if you think this will influence my opinion...cheers

Itsme said...

Ms Aina came at the busiest period of the year in Orchard Road.That explain the long ques at most eateries.If you hate ques or crowds, Dec esp mid month onwards is not the best time to descend to the famous street.If you dont mind crowds and love to feel the festive season of Christmas with it lovely yearly light up, this is the best month to come. But why stop there. From Orchard Rd, you can also hop on the popular city double deck bus called the Hippo and its amphibious partner, the 'wacky' Duck vehicle which travel on land and sea. Near the sea at Marina, theres the S'pore flyer, the world biggest ferris wheel.

Anonymous said...

YES, FOOD IN IPOH = good ! try stall 19, muslim makan at the greentown mall, see u !

Anonymous said...

You may be right about not may eateries in Orchard road but that doesnt mean the whole island of Singapore. It will be unfair to deduce Singapore is not a food island just becos of one trip to Orchard road and you could`nt find a good food. You are certainly right that Malaysia is a food heaven, I have been to most states in Malaysia including Borneo and I agree with you totally. It is simply becos Malays are the majority clan in Malaysia where most food businesses in the whole country of Malaysia are being patronised by the Malays. However in Singapore it speaks of different tune. If you want a good halal food with affordable amount without a tinge in our wallet, ask the locals; Malays; in Singapore. :)

Anonymous said...

Very true Kak Aina, home is where the heart is =)

Everytime i come back from overseas (for work or holidays), just landed at KLIA/LCCT itself is already a blessing. Just reminded me of how much i missed Malaysia. Yes, Malaysia is not perfect and far from being perfect, but this is where i am and this is where the heart is...

Love ur writings, Kak Aina...

Anonymous said...

seems you did not publish my comments :)

A true Malaysian identities indeed :)


Hi folks,

Just so I am not misunderstood...I know there are many great eateries/restaurants in Singapore. I am not refuting that. I'm just talking about Orchard Road.
I am not judging Singapore's worth based on our few days in Orchard.
I know Singapore. I wsa born there and I visit there ever so often.

It's just that when you depend on whatever that are available on Orchard Road for meals --'s a bit stressful-lah. Always crowded etc etc as I have related. Of course there are other places, but it was a little impractical to get all of us (all 28 of us with kids and babies in tow) to those places.

Up until about four years ago, we spent our holidays at our youngest aunt's place and we'd go to Orchard road either after brunch or lunch and we'd be back by dinner. So we never had to look for places to have our meals. The Starbucks or Coffee Bean breaks were pretty routine.
As I have said , our major Singapore visits were always during Aidilfitri and centred on visiting our many many relatives. So it would always be makan makan makan everyday.
Our latest though was just after Aidil Adha, so not much visiting.