Tonight, my heart is so full — it may be my belly speaking after a wholesome dinner of Tom Yum soup noodles and a gigantic jug of Thai iced milk tea, but truly, I was thankful to have made a trip down to Geylang Serai Bazaar tonight. Today marks the third day of Ramadan, a period (usually a month) during which Muslims are encouraged to pray 5 times a day and fast from before the break of dawn till sunset.
It was hot and humid and our shirts were clinging uncomfortably onto the skin of our backs. There is a perpetual stream of sweat down the side of our faces, sweat pooling in the creases of our foreheads and upper lips. An occasional sweaty jostle by a passer-by. Incessant hollering from the adolescent and high-spirited stall vendors. Despite the discomfort, the unbearable temperature and phobia-inducing crowd, we pushed on and whizzed our way through the throngs of people trying our best to avoid the smokers.
There were kebabs, pulled lamb meat burgers, Thai iced teas, chendol soft-serves, Takoyaki, fruit bowls, Turkish lanterns…I felt as if I had entered Narnia’s wardrobe and set foot on an alternative world, one that has been compressed into this tiny space that has been coincidentally festively decorated in the spirit of Ramadan.
It is times like this that I truly, truly am thankful for the cultural plurality in my homeland, Singapore.