Thaipusam Festival in Singapore

Thaipusam festival (or how to get closer with an x100s)

Events, Little India, Singapore, Uncategorized

It all happened so quicky – twenty-five floors up and down plus two, a round table meal and that question from Nicolas, ‘Have you heard about The Thaipusam Festival?’

Thaipusam Festival in Singapore

Tuesday night training sessions became routine lately, two hours of sweat and fast heart beat and pain. Well, I use to call it pain but I promise after what I saw on Wednesday morning I will never use that word in vain again.

So let me explain a little bit more.

The Thaipusam Festival is a Tamil celebration in Singapore that attracts thousands of Hindu devotees who fulfill their vows through a 4km walk, some of them carrying heavy artifacts attached to their bodies through a complex system of thin arrows and needles that are literally attached to the body, pierced to the mouth and tongue. It’s often described as a strong control over one’s senses but for me, who can’t even stand the thought of an ear-piercing, it’s a whole long agonising process of pain (the real one) and sacrifice.

So if you are sensitive you might want to stop reading now – I hope you don’t 🙂

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It’s often described as a strong control over one’s senses but for me, who can’t even stand the thought of an ear-piercing, it’s a whole long agonising process of pain (the real one) and sacrifice.

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So why did I add the x100s to the title (again)? Well, it was the only camera I took along to the festival as I honestly didn’t know what to expect, I had a busy day and as usual, I try to carry less weight around so the x100s was an obvious choice. A small point and shoot with a fixed lens with good quality glass. The challenge is that it always adds a bit of tension when you need to get closer to your subject, especially when the subject is a person, but I had no choice and to be fair the x100s is still my favorite little camera.

Thaipusam Festival in SingaporeThaipusam Festival in Singapore

The challenge is that it always adds a bit of tension when you need to get closer to your subject, especially when the subject is a person, but I had no choice and to be fair the x100s is still my favorite little camera.

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Fujifilm x100s


 

Tekka Centre

Little India, Singapore

When I first landed in Singapore at the beginning of 2017, the two things that stood out the most were the weather and the cost of living, both equally daunting. My first impressions were that most things cost double the price, even triple sometimes. Some will argue that quality of life is excellent, economy is doing well, wages are better than most of the countries and I get that, but if you are coming from a country like South Africa, paying ten dollars for four apples is something that takes time to digest…literally.

 

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One of the main entrances of the Market

 

Tekka Market is situated on the edge of Little India (west side) along Rochor Canal. It is a fifteen minutes walk from where I live, five minutes or less if I take a bus. It quickly became one of my reference points in Singapore. It is somehow illustrative of the Singaporean ethnic diversity and a good example of how that diversity can work together under the same roof.  And above all it is cheaper than the average supermarket.

On the first floor you´ll find mainly Indian costumes shops and several traditional tailors but you can also find some Buddhist and Taoist paraphernalia.

This time I got there just a little bit to early.

 

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The Main floor of the center is where you can find all the fresh products. Fresh fruit and vegetables,  fish and meat. The meat section is probably the most ‘difficult’ one for those who are not used to buy in traditional wet markets. The meat is prepared in a typical butcher block, inside the butcher’s shop or in some cases just outside the shop on the narrow corridors.  The process is very ‘near and visual’ and the odour intense, but that’s just how it’s done.

On the other hand the fish section is very appealing – except for the wet floor – with a great variety of seafood. All sorts of prawns, gigantic crabs, sea bass, tuna and squid just to mention a few.

And finally the fruit and vegetables area, and this is probably why I often go to Tekka Market. The price of the fruit and vegetables but specially the vegetables is much lower than the ones you find in other generic markets.  So if you live in the vicinity, trust me – it is worth the visit.

 

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On the main floor you can also find a hawker centre. I’m really not sure how Tekka ranks among all the numerous Singaporean hawker food centres but I can say this. Its hot, busy, almost chaotic, the options are endless and some of the stalls have long queues and that usually is a good indicator for me. I must confess that regarding to food I often play it safe and once I find  that safety I stick to it for a while. So I haven’t tried much yet, but I hope that soon I will be able to tell you more about this.

 

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The Tekka Centre is a local that I learned to appreciate over time for its diversity and traditional characteristics. It was the first open door that I found to the local Singaporean culture and that for me is priceless. So don’t think that I just go there because its cheap. I mean…well… you know what I mean.

The Tekka center opens its doors at 6.30 am (the main floor) and you can visit till 9 pm – Fish and meat stalls close around noon. It’s easy to get there. Little India MRT station is just in front of the centre and there are also several buses available. It´s a great starting point if you´re just visiting Little India.

 

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Tekka Center

Fujifilm X-T2

Fujinon 35mm f2