The Mustafa Centre was no longer busy that night. Several Indian nationals working by the center seemed curious of my whereabouts.
As I walk, I finally found a row of restaurants along the Arcade. Having no idea where to eat, I decided to choose this restaurant where Singaporeans mostly eat. I picked a table, left my umbrella and went to the food attendant. Having no idea about foods written in Chinese, I asked the food attendant which food is “Ok lah,” and he recommended the Teochew Fried Kway Teow.
Upon serving the actual food, it looked unlikely from what was presented in the picture. Focusing on the food, it was made from flat rice noodles topped with bean sprouts and fish cake which tasted like adobo – delicious though.
Halfway through my meal, two old Singaporean menfolk came and settled beside me. They ordered 3 plates of satay served with peanut sauce. I was staring at their meal as it looked like barbeque and they were dipping it in the peanut sauce. Then one of the gentlemen noticed my aloofness and asked, where I came from.
“Philippines.” I said.
I was delighted when they started talking about the Filipinos in Singapore who work as doctors, nurses, and IT engineers. Part of me felt proud as Filipinos are now known professionals to that aspect; however, the old folks stood aware of the reason behind Filipinos working in Singapore because of the good pay.
After a good short conversation, they gave me their last satay which I never thought was good. A few minutes after, they had to leave and we said adios to each other, but I remained seated trying to consume my order.
Another Singaporean sat beside me who looked 30s in his age. Planning on my next destination, I began the conversation by asking if the MRT was still open.
“No, it’s late at night. Where are you going?” He said.
“To Esplanade. Can I walk from here?”
He laughed and joked if I want to die from walking as it is very far from the Little India – and there the chit-chat goes. He was curious to where I came from, what I do, and why am I in Singapore. I told him I’m from the Philippines and just having vacation for three days. Upon knowing that, he told me that all Filipinos he knew were nurses and computer experts.
I pondered all of a sudden when I recalled that Filipinos, were labeled Domestic helpers or nannies in an allegedly Oxford English dictionary during 1990s. In this age, it appeared that Filipinos were able to change that view; however, quality services that supposed to be enjoyed by our fellows were benefited by other people or citizens abroad.
It was already 1 a.m. on my watch and I had to head back to the hostel. The man left and wished me luck in my solo trip.