Growing up in Asia, many of us live in cities where the traditional trishaw continues to be a popular means of transport. I can’t recall the trishaw being a part of my life growing up in post Japanese occupation in Brunei but I recall seeing some really old examples that were used to sell Tau Foo Fah (Soy Bean Pudding) from door to door. My first trishaw ride in recent memory was when my peers and I explored the Penang Heritage Trails in Malaysia on beautifully decorated trishaws. Of course, you don’t have to visit Penang to board one of these; I had a 30 minutes ride while I was in Singapore with Debbie Too (featured in the pictures below) and Rano Iskandar on an official mission.
“Trishaw Uncle” is a term of endearment for the trishaw riders who in the yesteryears comprised mainly labourers who formed the early backbone of Singapore’s labour force. To acknowledge their contribution and to pay tribute to them, “Trishaw Uncle” has been chosen as the name for the company which will helm the management and operations of the Albert Mall Trishaw Park.
Our host and my trishaw seat mate Alex settling arrangements with the Trishaw Uncle peddlers before leaving the hotel.
It’s a hot day and Debbie opts to have the soft retractable shade pull over her. I had mine down so I could photograph Debbie and Rano behind me.
This photo is one of my favourites from this set and the General Manager of Albert Court Village Hotel likes it enough to share it online. Expect to see appearance of this image on official hotel media.
Given another opportunity to photograph the rides, I would mount a remotely triggered flash to light up the passengers to lift heavy shadows in the original photo.
Picture of me and Alex (left) captured by Rano while leaving Albert Court Village Hotel compound – the perks of having the top down versus the limited view of Debbie’s dress.
In line with Singapore Tourism Board’s “YourSingapore” campaign, our aim is to provide visitors different, personalised ways of discovering the island and having an integrated experience of Singapore. The trishaws are a perfect mode of transport to explore ethnic zones like Little India and Kampong Glam, with their rich and vibrant history, culture and heritage waiting to be discovered in the intimate streets and inner alleys.”
Our ride on the streets of Singapore crossed path with the HiPPO tour bus more than once including a second time when it cut into a lane in front of us – quite thrilling.
Slow and easy does it. In a country that prides itself of rapid economic progress, it’s a relaxing change to take things slow for a change including how long it has taken me to post these pictures – 3 weeks!
“The trishaw is an important heritage icon in Singapore and has been affectionately used and showcased at important events like Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Chingay, National Day. To celebrate the resilient spirit of trishaw riders and preserve the heritage of this old mode of transport, we are delighted to introduce refreshing new ideas to Albert Mall Trishaw Park so that trishaws and trishaw riders can continue their contribution in offering unique trishaw ride experiences.”
Debbie’s trishaw is equipped with a sound system and we were entertained with selections of golden oldies some of which just made us smile.
Returning to Albert Court Village Hotel after completing a round trip on a relaxing trishaw ride. I miss the hotel’s colonial charm not forgetting also the great all-day breakfast at Kookaburra Restaurant.