Breakfast in Malaysia

To Malaysia, and beyond! It’s a little off the beaten path as breakfast places go in the city, but people go to Changi Airport to eat at its restaurants, so why not have breakfast at the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station? Plus it has the added attraction of being the only place where one can sociologically and aesthetically cross the border to Malaysia without needing a passport.

A little roti prata (or roti canai, if you’re going to be precise when ordering from the Malaysian food hawkers) and teh halia, an undisturbed view of the train tracks, a little vicarious anticipation of an imagined train journey to Malaysia ahead — not a bad way to start one’s Sunday.

A picture book for you? This morning, there was the added attraction of a Singapore Biennale event: a talk by Malaysian photographer Simryn Gill about the murals in the railway station, which she had photographed for the Biennale. Okay, I missed the talk because I was woefully slow in getting my act together to get myself down to the station, but her photographs have been compiled into a book for the Biennale, which is available for just $5, exclusively at the humble railway station newsstand.

Full disclaimer: I project-managed the publication of this book, so of course I have a soft spot for it. But I still think it’s a worthwhile page-through for anyone who’d like to catch a glimpse of life going on in an oft-overlooked corner of Singapore/Malaysia. I mean, I didn’t even realise there were murals at the railway station until I came onto the book project.

Dropping by the station today has me hankering to take a train ride again, even though I don’t have a particular destination in mind. I hear there are Hindu temples set up by railway employees scattered along the line, all the way up to northern Malaysia, and they can only be seen from a moving train. That’d be a sight to see.

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