April 20, 2007
While walking down from Immigration Complex, I saw a bus waiting but I had to go to gents first. Had to offload after one-and-half-hour waiting. After going out of the toilet, I missed the bus and had to wait until another bus heading to Kranji came.
Inside the bus, I found only a handful of passengers. Not many compared to the ones queuing at the immigration. Yes, I realised that they were all tourists who came here on package. I heard some of them making loud noise there. Probably they didn't know how to fill in the immigration form. Thought they are from China looking at their faces as well as hearing to their Mandarin dialect.
The bus reached Kranji MRT Station after few minutes. One thing I noticed while in Singapore was its faster escalators. Unlike in KL, all things here moved very fast. This was important especially during rush hours. I remembered while at Masjid Jamek interchange in KL, which I seldom be there, escalators were so slow. I had to walk on one of the escalators in order to keep the same speed as I walked. Couldn't imagine when people rush every morning there.
While in the MRT, an announcement was heard informing passengers that the MRT would stop at Ang Mo Kio. Anything happened to this MRT or any problem with the rail upfront? Last time, I had to stop at Toa Payoh as the train finished its service there and resumed to Orchard by taking a taxi. Hoped that this was not deja vu again.
When the train stopped at Ang Mo Kio, the driver made another announcement to ensure everybody went out and then turned off the lights. Not sure of what was happening, I asked a staff there. He explained that the train was due for service and I could take another train. Sigh, relieved.
Now I decided that one of my plans had to be called off. I didn't think that before midnight I managed to go to Orchard, then off to Singapore River to take pictures and lastly went for late shopping at Mustafa Centre.
I reached Orchard at 8.40PM and had only about 20 minutes for shopping. Here in Singapore, most shops close at 9.00PM, unlike Malaysia, which most of them close at 10.00PM. I only managed to go to Takeshimaya but I liked items sold there since they were not easily found elsewhere. After that, I went for a quick dinner at KFC. For those who are not familiar in Singapore, almost all fast food chains here are halal. So, there's no problem with foods in Singapore.
It's now 10.00PM. I was not sure if I still had time to go to Mustafa Centre. Of course, I had to cancel my plan to Singapore River now although I brought along my camera and a tripod. Sigh, another plan to be there had to be called off... I just walked along Orchard Road while thinking if I should go to Mustafa Centre or not.
One thing I always noticed when I'm at Orchard Road was dressing. Youths here were so advanced in term of fashion and always wore the latest one. When I looked at my dressing, I was sure that I was a little bit out of date. You could easily identify if someone was really a Singaporean or not. I bet you could easily identify rich Jakarta people coming to shop here... This was always not the case in KL unless you could easily identify Bangladeshis with their striking-colour, long sleeve shirts.
Finally I made up my mind I should go to Mustafa Centre. I only had one hour for quick shopping including traveling time so that by 11.00PM, I could take MRT back to Kranji. Hopefully I would not end up taking taxi to Woodlands which I was sure included midnight surcharge. Imagine if it's converted to Ringgit...
From Sommerset MRT, which was not far from Orchard station, I boarded at Dobby Ghaut interchange. The interchange here was more comfortable and spacey if we were to compare with Masjid Jamek interchange in KL. It's located underground and was well lid. I hoped that Masjid Jamek interchange would be renovated like this one day. So did KL Monorel Station at KL Sentral. Hope the authority will somehow extend the rail into KL Sentral building. If not, don't call it KL Sentral Station, just call it Brickfields Station!
From there, I took Seranggoon line and finally stopped at Farrer Park, which was very near to Mustafa Centre. As usual, I could really feel that this was real Little India as there were a lot of Indian descendants including Banglas here. Even you don't really feel Malay atmosphere when you are in Geylang, for example, compared to here.
At Mustafa Centre, I just wanted to buy few Indian food such as pappadums and halwa as well as few other things. I had no time to look for other items which I was sure real shoppers could easily spend a night here! Mustafa Centre actually opens 24 hours.
By the time I finished shopping, it was 11.15PM already. I had to rush back. While I was walking back to the MRT station, I saw few bunches of Banglas quarrelling at a field in front of Mustafa Centre. Hmm, when they were too many here, they just could do anything...
When I was in MRT, unluckily I couldn't find any seat. When the train just arrived, I saw a lot of empty seats but somehow I couldn't get any of them. Nevermind, another drill perhaps. I was just standing up until Sembawang and then reached Kranji after a short while. It's now 12.15AM and I was relieved as I arrived on time. The last bus was about 12.30AM. I liked the bus driver here as he didn't rush although he was about to finish his job. He tried to get everybody to be in the bus when he saw few passengers were running from far to catch the bus and yet there were still few buses coming at later time.
Going out of Singapore was pretty fast and Immigration officers just endorsed passports without having to go into detail. Finally I reached JB at 12.45AM. What a short but useful journey. Before going back to the hotel, I dropped by at a Mamak restaurant and have drink first.
Now I could feel the difference between Singapore and KL after long time not coming to Singapore and now staying in KL. Not much differences except public transportation system and customer service. How messy transportation in KL compared to Singapore when one could even afford not to have a car in Singapore. Mustafa Centre could afford to hire staff just to greet customers at the main entrance. Cashiers at shopping complex could also accept credit card for SG$10 without any question. No minimum RM50 here!