Veteran hawker, Mr Teng Kiong Seng, 71, and his wife have been serving Tanglin Halt residents with their tasty peanut pancake, known as Min Jian Kueh (Hokkien: 面煎糕), for the past 45 years. At four o’clock every morning, Mr Teng will unload buckets of pancake batter and packets of roasted peanuts from his truck and ferry them to his stall at Tanglin Halt Wet Market and Food Centre with a trolley. The effervescent hawker will proceed to clean his cooking utensils, wipe the cutlery and mop the floor. He says, “Keeping my stall clean and hygienic is my responsibility.” After preparing the ingredients, Mr Teng will switch on the fluorescence lights at his stall front and welcome hungry patrons, eagerly anticipating for a slice of piping hot peanut pancake.
At Block 28 Tanglin Halt Road, the battle to arrange and distribute newspapers for 700 households in Tanglin Halt and Stirling Road has just begun. Different sections of the Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao are printed in different locations and Mano, 53, and his team of foreign workers, has only ninety minutes to arrange and distribute the newspapers so that Tanglin Halt residents can read them before breakfast at 6am. “Speed is the key,” he commented soberly as he slides a “Classified” nimbly between “Home,” before passing the newspapers to his colleague in an assembly-like setting.
At 6am, worshippers begin streaming in Sri Muneeswaran Temple, located at the junction of Tanglin Halt Road and Commonwealth Drive, for morning prayers. Sri Muneeswaran Temple first started as a shrine in 1932 when Malayan Railway employees living in Queenstown planted a sulam or trident and a triangular stone in attap hut under a banyan tree. The wooden hut was known as the Muniandy Temple where Hindu devotees would congregate for daily prayers. “The morning prayers used to coincide with the first trains from Tanjong Pagar Railway Station,” Anantha Sayanam, a longtime worshipper, commented.
Before Dawn @ Tanglin Halt tour uncovers the interesting aspects of community life and routine activities taking place at wee hours. Participants to the new, guided tour can look forward to visiting many historical landmarks such as the Black & White bungalows at Wessex estate, Church of the Blessed Sacrament and flats designed by the Singapore Improvement Trust.
Interested participants can register for the guided tour, which takes place on 7 & 8 May 2016, through www.beforedawn.eventbrite.sg. Registration starts on 22 April 2016.
Before Dawn @ Tanglin Halt tour
Saturday, 7 May 2016
Sunday, 8 May 2016
4am – 6am
Commonwealth MRT Station (Exit D) Next to Sheng Siong supermarket