Where were the ladies when the men met in Freemasons Hall?
In the early morning of Saturday 8th June, the lobby of Peninsular Hotel on Coleman Street had a vibrant buzz, arising from 30+ ladies gathering enthusiastically for their special outing. We welcomed lovely ladies from Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand, UK and Kyrgyzstan! We were joined by Lady Elizabeth Wootton (‘Liz’) who accompanied Sir David Wootton to partake in the Masonic Bicentennial Celebrations in Singapore
Everyone was excited - meeting old friends as well as making new acquaintances. Even our fabulous guide, Brother Bhajan Singh, had trouble keeping our attention over our overriding need to talk to each other all the time! Poor fellow!
Soon we were on our way to the Fullerton Jetty – to board a much modernised heritage bumboat. In the early years, these were small boats used to ferry goods to and from ships moored away from the shores. During the boat cruise in the Marina Bay and along the Singapore River, we could view the iconic Marina Bay Sands, the famous water-spouting Merlion, Singapore Parliament House, etc and cruised past Boat Quay and Clarke Quay (F&B and entertainment hubs now)
After the interesting cruise, we walked through the luxury heritage Fullerton Hotel, which was originally the General Post Office or the Fullerton Building (named after the 1st Governor of the Straits Settlements).
A leisurely walk across pedestrian Cavenagh Bridge led us to a special treat – durian ‘potong’ (popsicle) ice cream from a push cart! The courageous ones gleefully enjoyed it!
In the historic trail in Empress Place, we passed by the Asian Civilisations Museum (specialising in material history of Asia), Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall (and its clock tower) and a statue of Sir Stamford Raffles (denoting his landing place in 1819), before we reached the Singapore Cricket Club.
Lunch was served in the Victoria Room. By then we were all famished and were ready to tuck in the local delicious offerings – SCC’s signature Laksa & Chicken Rice, Mutton Bryani and Vegetarian Makhani. An enlightening tour of the historical Club (which was established in 1837) brought an English aura around it, even with the cricket pitch covered by stands set up for the coming National Day celebrations. Liz was presented with a special momento from SCC.
On the walk back to the hotel, some of us detoured into the National Gallery, where we could view the interior of 2 historic buildings (the former Supreme Court and City Hall) converted into the largest museum for modern and contemporary art in Singapore. It was a shame we did not have time to visit any of the galleries. However on exit, we were awed by the close up view of the magnificent St Andrew’s Cathedral, an Anglican church designed in Neo-classical style, on the land allocated by Sir Stamford Raffles for its siting in his Town Plan of 1822.
We hardly had time to put our feet up as we had to get ready for the ‘ladies only’ Hi-Tea where we were treated to bubbly champagne and light bites. By the time we arrived at Shangri-La Hotel for the Gala Dinner, we were all in high spirits, and ready to enjoy the evening celebrations ….. cheers!
So did the ladies have a great time…. just look at their happy and smiley faces!!
Left: start of tour – around One Fullerton
Right: end of tour - in front of the Singapore Cricket Club