Well I don’t know whether or not it is fate that brought first John Harper and now Brian Mitchell and his lovely wife Tessa thousands of miles from wintry Cambridge to our sunny shores. (Actually not all sunny because we had quite a few rainy days this past week). Still I am thankful to be able to finally meet up with somebody I seem to have known for decades this week. And they also got to meet a few of our regular friends of GMY (Good Morning Yesterday), Victor, YG, Peter and Chuck. I think our visitors were happy to be able to see most of the places that they wanted to see, such as:
Brian’s houses in Toh Drive and Opera Estate, Brian’s school in Changi, Pulau Ubin, Cliff House in Bt Chermin and Johore Causeway. Unfortunately, Brian’s school is now part of the RSAF’s Changi Air Base and thus out of bounds.
I will leave it to Brian and Tessa to tell you about their trip to Singapore in their blog. I will just show a few photos here and keep my fingers crossed that another friend from UK, Tom Brown will make it to our shores soon.
Brian and Tessa with Cliff House in the background. Notice how dark the skies were. It was raining heavily and we almost decided to turn back. Miraculously the rain ceased long enough for us to take a few shots. On the way back, it started to pour again. At Benjamin Sheares Bridge, you couldn’t even see the sky scrapers of Shenton Way.
Brian and I at the Siglap Road entrance to Opera Estate. Brian recalls that the bus taking him home from school would speed down this slope. The surrounding was mostly empty land.
Brian and Peter taking a shot of the houses at Aida Road in Opera Estate.
Brian and Tessa sampling our local hawker fare at Sunset Way Food Court
I stopped my car at Woodlands Street 13 to let our English visitors see a flowering durian tree close-up. Unfortunately, in this trip they did not get a chance to try the durian. I guess they can do that in Malaysia. After all our durians are mostly imported from Malaysia where they’re much cheaper.
That Chinese idiom may not be 100% appropriate in describing my meetings with Brian Mitchell and John Harper. But it certainly applies to a chance meeting between Lynn Copping’s brother and their amah. Lynn, you may recall has written about her stay in Pulau Brani here. Recently, she emailed me to describe the amazing coincidence which enabled her and her brother to be reunited with their amah from more that 40 years ago. Here is their story in her own words.
“By the way, I was in Singapore in July 2007, to meet up with my old amah. My brother found her completely by chance.
He has been in Singapore about 18 times in the last three years, and in April 2007 he mentioned to the porter in the hotel that he had been brought up in Singapore, on Pulau Brani. 'So was I' said the porter. My brother asked him to look at some photos of old Pulau Brani that he had on his laptop, and when the porter saw one of my elder brother with our amah, he said 'that's my mother'. (He had first seen one of me, and thought to himself that he had seen a photo of that girl before, but didn't like to say anything - it was a copy of one that his mother had in her album). My brother went to see her the next day, and I flew out on my brother's next trip (in the July) to see him and to meet up with her. It was so exciting.”
PS - to read Brian and Tessa's posts click on the label Brian Mitchell on right side of this page