Kampong Gelam is the historic Muslim area in Singapore where the Malay Heritage Centre is situated. I spent a glorious afternoon walking around Kampong Gelam and visiting the Centre. This picture I took is of a traditional Bugis prahu (boat).
As I made my way through the afternoon a growling thunderstorm brought drama to the day. It gave me long moments to reflect about Malay culture and the place of South African Malays in the Malay Archipelago.
Kampong Gelam was a center of learning in the late 19th century. It is from these vibrant origins that Singapore, the city state, grew.
Just outside the compound of the Malay Heritage Centre is an impressive masjid (mosque). As the clouds grew more intense I started taking pictures of the drama unfolding.
It was one of the most impressive days in my southeast Asia travels of 2006/07.
These are some of my other pictures from that day:
This impressive structure is known as the Gedung Kuning, or the yellow mansion. It is said to have been built around 1860 and like just about everything in Singapore, it is in great repair.
The storm started to roll in touching me face and calling the ancestors.
As I kept staring skyward I wondered if God was home.
I came across this street, and being a Muslim, it evoked a special relevance. I walked down the street to the other end to see what happens at the end of Haji Lane.
So I was getting hungry after a day of introspection and beauty. I heard Eugene say on the radio this morning that he looks to find beauty in this world anger and oppression. I am weak in that department. The department that can find beauty even while my fists are clenched.
But in Kampong Gelam I found beauty. Muslims, Malays, rain, and memories of people I am yet to meet when that day draws the end.
And to celebrate the beauty I decided to eat a lot. So I started looking for food through the windows of restaurant fronts.
And then I came across this thanksgiving delicacy:
This then is Haji Lane. Notice it is a narrow one-way. There is meaning for those who have been. A post-awareness perhaps. A greater knowing. And a letting go.
Haji Malcolm X is seen praying here. A beautiful day of revolution. This is the time of Haj as I write, and my thoughts are about the revolution the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) relayed.