All I remember from my first visit to Singapore was where I stayed and seeing a few sampans idling in the harbour. My second visit memory is when we walked by a store that harboured the aroma of garam masala. A man sat grinding the spice and we ended up purchasing some. Whenever a dish I cooked turned out mediocre, I added this freshly ground spice and the fragrant taste exploded. This time, it was my third visit to Singapore, and each visit, the city seemed to sparkle a little more.
Within twenty-four hours of landing on the island nation, my daughter’s energy level returned to normal thanks to the Malaysian doctor. During the last few days of our month-long holiday, we either ate an early breakfast of roti canai, or brunched at my favourite restaurant—Komola Vilas for South Indian battura (giant puri), masala dosa, or resam. We were both in taste bud heaven because my daughter ended each meal with a masala chai and gulab jamun.
After breakfast, we crossed over to Sentosa Island by cable car, a place I’d never have visited if I hadn’t had a child. It was like a fantasy island, and I wondered if even the sandy beach was artificial. But what I did enjoy was sitting at dusk and watching the water display. Classical music boomed into the fading sky and water shot into the air in time with the music. A perfect end to a day when we were both feeling healthy again. On subsequent days, we visited The Temple of 1000 Lights, the Arab Quarter and even took a boat cruise, but for my daughter the best part was meeting a new friend.
Months before we left on our trip, we met a reserved Singaporean whom we’d invited to our home during his stay in Australia. Now we were in Singapore, we ventured along Buffalo Road until we came to his father’s business. It was through this family, my daughter met someone she instantly friended. At that time, they were giggling girls. We met up on a couple of occasions before the end of our holiday and as if by chance, ten years on, they both moved to Canada. I will never forget how much they laughed together. But this memory now brings despair because her long-time friend died from cancer a few years back leaving behind a young daughter.