Sunday, May 16, 2010

Orchard Road

It has been some time since I visited Orchard Road with my Dear, so yesterday,we spent few hours walking down Orchard Road, taking refuge from the bristling heat in the comfortable air-cooled malls, "shopping centre hopping" from one shopping mall to another.

Orchard road is not only a fantastic place for shopping, it is also a place to watch some interesting streetside busking. There were quite a number of people hawking their wares, from selling tissues papers to ice-creams which were quite common in Orchard Road. My Dear and I also caught sight of an old woman selling quite unconventional items on Orchard road: packets of Milo and some other dry snacks laid out neatly on a mat. It seems that these were her only possessions left that she wanted to sell to earn some bucks for a living.

There were other buskers like a blind man playing real soothing music, earning living from donations of passers by. There was also a most unconventionl busker as you can see from the photo below:

If I am not mistaken, what the old man was performing was "Kung Fu ball" and before he made an appearances and caught attention of passers-by, I have read somewhere in the newspapers that he has been practising his craft in a park somewhere in the island. Having perfected his skills, he has come to Orchard Road to perform and earn a living.

While there were teenagers performing some stunts in Orchard road on the streets for fun and earn some pocket monies, from what I observe, most of the older and physically-challenged personnel have come to Orchard road to sell items and food, perform antics, music or some skills under the hot sun to earn a living. If given a choice, at their age, would they want to brave and endure the bristling hot sun, extreme humidity and trade every ounce of their remaining strenght at their ripe own age everyday at Orchard road?

Tourists to Orchard road may welcome this aspect of Orchard road which presents a even more unique side of Singapore. Another place commonly visited by tourists and where street busking is rife is Bencoolen Street, the stretch of pavement leading from Fu Lu Shou complex to OG and Fortune shopping centre at Bugis. There, the stuntsmen are mostly from China, and there are even more interesting acts daily. I have caught some stuntsmen bringing in snakes before, promising a miracle cure to the onlookers, who were made of uncles and aunties in their fifties to seventies. There, the stunt, as befitting the theme of Waterloo Street is more orient-centric.

Anyway, I welcome these unique street busking aside to the hundreds of shopping centres Singapore now boasts. There would be even more shopping centres coming up, at heartlands come later this year. For example, Bedok will soon have a brand new shopping mall called Bedok Point.

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