I was thinking about where my love of vintage stores first began, and remembered Grandfather’s Collections on Bussorah Street. Did some photo-digging and uncovered these images from 2005, taken on my very first trip to a shophouse filled with oddities, costume jewelry, juxeboxes and a vespa! I’m not sure if this shop is still there, but the vespa had been sold by the time I made my second visit just a few months after.
I wish I had more images, but it was a bit of a hit or miss with my digital camera from 2005 and my shaky amateur hands. This might also be the only presentable act-cool photo of sixteen year old me in existence…in an excited blur, hair covering half of face. You have been warned.
ps. Only pretending to play the drums! Don’t even think i’m holding a drumstick in my left hand. Oops!
The hardest thing about visiting An Ode To Penguin was resisting picking up every single copy to admire! Books are beautiful on their own but this collection of over a thousand titles showcases Penguins from different series since 1935, and it’s really something to take in so much art and book history all at once. Some interesting titles — China in the year 2001 (a prediction of communist China’s future published in 1970), A Dissertation on Roast Pig, and a hand-embroidered cover of Lady Chatterley’s Lover designed by Paul Smith!
Finally back home after a long, hot afternoon & night at the Tanglin Flea! It is completely fuss-free — no racks or displays allowed, no fancy signs or gimmicks, just your wares tumbled into a pile on a picnic mat! The buyers are only too happy to dig through to snag the best deals, and examine them for fit, brand, quality and defects, in that order. Most of the deal hunters are Filipino domestic workers, and they are such a joy to banter and bargain with! It got a bit overwhelming when there were seven pairs of hands rummaging through our stash all at once, but I got the hang of it as the day went on. Prices decrease as the sun sets, it seems, and it was also tricky trying to stick to our guns and not follow the “dresses $1, tops 50c, shoes FREE!” shouts from our neighbouring stalls. Eventually, Lauren and I emerged with a decent profit and extra space in our closets. Our sweet parents even stopped by a couple of times during the day, and left us with ice cream floats to sip on as we packed up!
It was tough to pick out clothes for the sale and watch them switch hands though. It seems so silly that we attach so many emotions to physical items, but the entire sale today was like watching my teenage life fly by. There were drapey tops and flowy skirts I felt like the height of cool in, a sweet coral top I wore all the time to my first real job, clothes I wore on dates. Amongst one of the things we sold was a blouse with hearts printed all over, something I bought for Lauren on one of our very first real shopping trips together. It was the first time I felt like a nice older sister doing something a bit more generous and out of the ordinary. As we exchanged that top for some crisp bills, Lauren smiled and commented, “that day, you said, ‘I can buy it for you if you want!'”, and rested her head on my shoulder. It made me smile to know that she remembers that as much as I do, and that I don’t need the clothes or the unnecessary emotions, just the stories and the people I created them with.
1. I protest! What about tea drinkers? 2. Excellent lattes + egg sandwich for veg man 3. Salami Ciabatta with a really good sweet chili relish 4. Darling’s Eggs 5. Snow Ice, thing of beauty!
Monday: a nice brunch at The Plain, and lots of walking from Duxton to Ann Siang Hill to Chinatown. In between there was mango snow ice and green tea snow ice with azuki to be had, and we eventually settled down for coffee, citrus tea, and a mediterranean puff at Far East Square. During the afternoon we talk about the thesis I seem to be running away from, and also hear lots of baby stories about W’s new niece. Privately, I think about how much I have missed being at school with these friends, and how it feels nice to be honest with people about fears that don’t seem so scary once shared.
Some conversations have become so polite lately — how was school? what internship are you taking? how much is he making, wow we are so old, aren’t we? It makes me sad. Seeing faces from years ago makes me feel as if time has stopped and we’re the same kids trying to conquer love and run away from P.E. class. Suddenly, grown-up words come out of our mouths and the illusion is shattered, and I feel older than ever. I picture a dystopian future of silently comparing HDB flats, successes, and CARS (god forbid!), a future I will firmly reject. Then again, there are people who ask those same how-are-you questions with so much warmth and honesty, I cannot help but be humbled by the size of their hearts. In a time of material change, these steadfast souls are pure gold.
The sky was overcast today, but that made it perfect for Wan Lin and I to take an afternoon stroll in the area around Duxton Hill. Wan Lin is so lucky to be living a stone’s throw away from the area, amongst the charming bookstores, patisseries and little bistros. We started the afternoon off with a leisurely (and inexpensive!) dim sum lunch, then discovered alleys, spent time in Littered with Books, and enjoyed the sprightly-coloured old shophouses along the quiet streets. I’ve got some snaps to share and recommendations to make, if you’d like to see!
ps. wrote this last week but somehow forgot to post it! it’s been waiting as a draft for 5 days now. whoops!
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