October 26th 2007- Chin Mei Chin / Visiting the Columbarium / Botanic Gardens
Sitting here at Chin Mei Chin in Katong. Can't believe
that this coffeehouse has been here for about 80 years!
All it sells are simple cakes, nice and buttery,
kaya on toast bread, cups of tea and coffee, half-boiled
eggs...yet just sitting here, on this old wooden
chair, smooth marble table top and tiled walls, it feels
like I'm reconnecting to the past, having tea and conversations
with the memory of people who have long passed on;
it hints of a simpler time, and there is the consolation
that this is a spot that time has not brushed aside,
unlike a lot of other buildings and establishments in
Singapore that seem to change ever so quickly.
CMC, as its popularly known, still has a very
loyal clientele. People come here from all parts of the island,
and the old man, his torso so bent that he looks like an inverted
'L', well, his voice is still resonant and strong as ever as
he echoes back the orders for kopi and teh.
Apparently, he is the son of the original owner who
first opened the shop in 1925.
I like hearing the familiar strains of Hainanese
wafting through this place. There's something
almost ancestral about it.
Outside, buses, cars and taxis drive past while
people walk by, going about their daily lives.
Earlier in the day, I strolled around the Botanic
Gardens and wandered a bit on the rainforest path.
I saw the nice huge Kapok tree, marked as a Heritage
tree. It had huge tree roots. How amazing that
it was probably a small sapling sometime ago when
it was first planted in 1933. Over time, it grew
into the huge tree that it is today. Majestic and strong.
Back at the Columbarium. It's nice to see Kong Kong's niche
again. Seeing the faces of those who have
gone before me, marked by the sign of faith. It somehow gives me
strength to re-focus, to keep my mind set on the fact that above
anything, love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind,
all your strength and love your neighbour as yourself.
What other things matter? In the face of death, life gains clarity,
and that is why I love sitting in the presence of souls who now know that truth,
who can see His face. His beautiful face. Wouldn't it be cool
to ride on our guardian angel's wings when we are called home;
for our guardian angels know the path to God.