Saturday, June 25, 2005

Morning visit to the wet market

My dad made the observation to me that Singapore seemed dominated by young 20-somethings. I realized then that I hadn't shown him the more everyday side of Singapore, away from all the commercial and touristy attractions. So we got up early on Friday to go buy fruit at my local wet market in the Tiong Bahru HDB estate.

Most Singaporeans live in HDB housing and going shopping in the morning at the wet market is part of a daily ritual. Wet markets, so named because the floor is usually wet from being continually mopped, are where fresh seafood, meat, fruit and vegetables are sold. It used to be that live animals were slaughtered and sold here, which provides another (bloody) dimension to the "wet" in market, but they don't do that anymore. The wet market is not cute like a farmers market and nor sterile like a grocery store, but I love shopping here in the mornings for the sense of community and connection. I've become acquainated with the people that sell me my eggs, tofu, vegetables and fruit. Plus, I get to practice my little bit of Mandarin on the vendors!

I'll need to take some photos soon and post them, because scenes of HDB life is the real face of Singapore. This is where the older adults are to be found during the day, in clusters just lounging, talking, shelling beans, tending children, going about their daily lives.

By the way, in case you were interested, we bought apples, oranges, and jackfruit, a cousin of the durian. And because I'm such a good customer, the fruit lady threw in an Asian pear.