Tiong Bahru: Take Two

After lab today (June 28), I went to Tiong Bahru, one of the oldest housing estates in Singapore. Tiong Bahru is known today as a hipster-artsy residential area, with lots of cafés, bookstores, and art galleries. I visited Tiong Bahru before, as I described in a previous post, but I came back today to get my brother a Singaporean gift.

When I asked my brother what he wanted from Singapore, he said, “Something cool. You be the judge.” This statement had room for interpretation, but I decided to get him something I saw last time I was in Tiong Bahru.

I bought a scratch-off world map for my brother from Strangelets, an interesting design store with a lot of cool random things. Whenever my brother visits another country, he can scratch it off the map to reveal some cool symbol or picture of the country underneath. This map was designed in Singapore, so I thought it would be a nice gift for my brother. Tyler, I know you’re reading this, so I don’t have a picture of the map- that would spoil the surprise!

Anyways, I was going to head to the Tiong Bahru Market for dinner, but I passed BooksActually right after leaving Strangelets. I can’t resist a good bookstore. Even though I’ve already been to BooksActually (and bought four books from there), I went back again today.

After I visited BooksActually a few weeks ago, I found out that they have a few cats that live in the bookstore! I didn’t see any of them last time, but I did see two of them today. I was surprised that the cats didn’t try to escape whenever someone opens the door, but I guess they like it inside.

One of the cats

I ended up buying another book (that makes 8 total books bought in Singapore so far) as well as a drawstring BooksActually book bag. I bought an anthology about the relationships between various Singaporeans and their cats. It seemed like an interesting read, and it would be nice to read more about the different neighborhoods in Singaproe through this book.

Afterwards, I walked around the neighborhood a bit more and saw two separate cats prowling the neighborhood.

Hello cat!

Tiong Bahru is the most cat-filled neighborhood I’ve visited so far. The neighborhood is already very cute, but the addition of these cats add to the appeal. In BooksActually, I remember that there is a book about cats in Singapore. I flipped through it and saw sections about what they eat, where they like to stay, what the like to do, and more. The book even came with cat stickers, so you can decorate the cover of the book! Dang, I forgot the name of the book, but trust me, it was cute.

Anyways, I walked around a bit more and ended up at an interesting statue. The Dancing Girl is located in Seng Poh Garden, and it was the work of Lim Nang Sang- who created the Merlion sculpture!!

The Dancing Girl

After looking at this, I thought the Merlion sculpture was his better work. I think I’m just not really an artsy person, so it took me a while to see the girl in this sculpture. I think the top fin-looking part is a fan? And the bottom fin-looking part is her skirt? Not sure.

At the Tiong Bahru Market, I had curry rice and popiah for dinner. They were both pretty tasty! I didn’t visit any of the cafés that this area is known for, since I did that last time I was in Tiong Bahru. In the end, I wandered around Tiong Bahru a bit more before getting back on the MRT back to UTown. I’m hoping to visit again before I leave Singapore!



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