A fortnight ago, mrbrown and myself visited Tekka Market. It is a happy place though you’d normally think otherwise. It’s hot, noisy, smelly and gets really crowded at peak shopping hours.
So what makes people at Tekka happy? Is it because that venerable wet market has resisted the tide of change and retained its Hokkien name? (It was for a short time known as Zhujiao, much to everyone’s dismay). Is it because it’s a happy confluence of China and India and everything in between?
It would likely be the array of food laid out at market, together with the shopper’s delight at having bargained twenty, thirty cents off a bunch of vegetables, and the thought of bringing all that fresh produce home to make a meal for the family.
There are fresh vegetables from wherever we import vegetables, and herbs that you’d think only Cold Storage or some other atas grocer would stock. And in a darker corner in the market, there is a Tamil lady who sells only banana leaves. In two sizes – One for “praying” and one for eating off.
This, well, happy combination would warm the cockles of anyone’s heart, I think. Speaking of which, cockles can be bought at several seafood stalls in the slippery middle aisle of the market.
There was also a kinda-sorta-if-you-ignored-the-signage-next-to-them impromptu concert in the market itself, though not in the slippery aisle, ‘cos you’d cause all sorts of calamity if someone got electrocuted, ‘cos wet market floors and sound equipment don’t get along, y’know?
The singer, Belvyn Khoo, and her accompanist guitarist serenaded all and sundry with their renditions of Teresa Teng classics such as Sweet Like Honey and The Moon Represent, Yo.
It brought smiles and curious looks to everyone within earshot.
Then all hell broke loose.
Some woman – I have no idea if she’s a stallholder or customer – barged her way to the stage and commandeered the microphone and asked Belvyn’s guitarist to follow her lead. I think she sang “My Way”, though I couldn’t really tell from the off-key rendition.
Now that got everyone’s attention, and it got the biggest cheer of the morning.
Anyone that says Singaporeans are unhappy can go and lick the floor of the slippery middle aisle.
I urge everyone to be like that bold and slightly tone deaf woman and spread joy and happiness everywhere you go. Then share your happy moments on the Happy Everywhere Facebook App, and yes, stand a chance to win stuff.