|My secondary school friend, Kian Hong (left), and I looking for clues during the race|
Don’t be mistaken, there is more to Katong than food, food and more food. And I discovered this last Saturday when I participated in PeRUNakan - an “Amazing Race” style game. This event was organised by The Peranakan Association Singapore, supported by the National Heritage Board, and partnered with students from NYP’s School of Information Technology (SIT) Student Club. Our students spent three months planning for this event. I took up the challenge and joined 19 other teams in the race as we set out to discover a different side of the Katong/ Joo Chiat area. I was confident as I had my secondary school friend, Kian Hong, as my partner for the day. Reminiscing fondly, I thought to myself, "We grew up here right?"
The race started at I12 Katong (formerly Katong mall). Each of the team was given a sheet of paper which contained 4 different pictures of different checkpoints in the Katong/ Joo Chiat area. Below the pictures, we had to answer questions that were given to us at each checkpoint. Initially, I was confident, but I lost all hope the moment I saw those pictures! Both of us had no idea where to start looking. I was a little reserved about stopping strangers to ask for guidance. Kian Hong, on the other hand, went all out to ask almost everyone he saw if they knew where those places in the pictures were.
Our first source of help came from a nice nyonya (female Peranakan) from Rumah Bebe. She led us to the Kim Choo Kueh Chang shop at Joo Chiat place. When we spotted the distinct green shop house, we were immediately greeted by the smell of savoury rice dumplings. The checkpoint station master handed us a clue to the answer to the first question. Being very kiasu, I tried to ask for hints from the station masters but they appeared as clueless. I later found out from Jin An, the leader of SIT club, that the core planning team deliberately kept the information from the station masters to prevent ‘a leak of information’. How smart! [Editor’s note: Naughty, naughty Kelly! :P]
|Clue 1: ‘What is the Unit number of this place?’|
|Mr Alvin Yapp’s Peranakan home - The Intan|
It was only at around 4.30 pm when all the teams returned to I12 Katong and submitted the answers. I could see everyone as looking tired and as exhausted as I was. I felt old!
At 6 pm, the winners of the race were presented with the new iPads, Canon cameras and iPod touch. No, I didn't win any of those. I did, however, take away many valuable lessons from the event. It allowed me to discover a side of Katong and Joo Chiat I never knew of. I also learnt the lifestyles of the Peranakan, and their culture fascinates me. One day, I hope to be as patient as the Nyonyas, and complete my very own Kasot Manek (Peranakan beaded shoe).
|The participants in the PeRUNakan|
|A pair of Kasot Manek can take up to 3 months to complete.|