Two Soft Boiled Eggs Drowning in Soy Sauce

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My sister, cousin and I recently returned to Singapore to visit relatives. We stayed in Tiong Bahru, and every morning my sister and I would walk the five minutes to the hawker center while my cousin slept in, which was just enough time for our makeup to melt away in the humidity. We'd climb up the stairs, taking in the many foods we'd been dreaming of days before in our cold homes on the other side of the world.

I visited Singapore numerous times when I was young with my sister and mother; our main activities consisted of math workbooks, card games, endless eating, watching a string of Chinese soap operas over cut fruit, and going to Tiong Bahru Market. I'm embarrassed to say I truly hated it whenever my mother dragged my sister and me through the wet, smelly ground floor and up the stairs to the humid food court.

There is much to comment on how and why Singapore has changed so rapidly during my mother's lifetime and during my own lifetime. My Ama and Akong's home, among many other older buildings, has disappeared, and this odd shaped building called Marina Bay Sands has become the main tourist attraction (which my mother has yet to see in person!).

But at least for now, whenever we visit the city where my mother grew up, my sister and I can make our way to Tiong Bahru Market and enjoy an iced kopi, kaya toast with melting butter, and two soft boiled eggs drowning in soy sauce as we sweat through our clothes at nine in the morning.

Illustration by my sister, Lauren Monaco.

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