I’m easily freaked out by crime stories, especially when they are about true events in Singapore. Worse, if they are fresh crimes with the victims not yet cold in their graves.
Like that unexplained stabbing to death of a woman on Aug 22, mid-autumn festival night, at a basketball court near Block 895C on Woodlands Drive 50.
She, her husband and son and her nephew had shortly be4 participated in a mid-Autumn lantern procession held at their block, 898B. After that, she sent her nephew home in a neighbouring block and was attacked while on her way to rejoin her husband and son.
Given this terrible killing took place in a crowded neighbourhood just after 10pm, it was understandable (to me anyway), that I was ultra cautious when I joined a smiliar gathering in Tampine last Friday, to mark the mid-Autumn occasion.
Actually, I was rather reluctant to go but seeing that two old colleagues of mine are heavily involved in the Kampung Senang charity, I felt obliged to show up, especially since the invitation had been given and accepted a month earlier.
Reflecting my reluctance, i was still dithering and lost in the wilderness of Upper Changi Road at around 7pm when the event was scheduled to start from 6pm.
I gave several calls to one of the ex-colleagues, now the CEO of the charity, and she guided me patiently till I found Tampines Street 82 and the Kampung Senang signboard. I parked and then horrors found myself in the bowels of an HDB estate surrounded by several high rise blocks but none of them said 840 where the charity is based.
The only block that seemed near is 839 but having had some experience of HDB’s crazy numbering — eg in the Bendemeer estate, Block 33 is next to Block 24!! — I chickened out of exploring by myself, as it was already dark and the Woodlands murder was still fresh in my mind.
I called the ex-colleague again and she said, “stay where you are, I’ll come and get you!”, an injunction that I clung to, till I started worrying whether she would take a long time, as she was participating in the sunset ceremony called Agnihotra. I then fretted over the consequences of my lingering in the carpark!
Guess from this you will know I’m Chicken Little personified. But thankfully I spied a boy of about 10, heading for home from school, when I quickly waylaid him to ask if he would keep me company till my friend arrived or, better still, if he knew the way, show me to Block 840.
He knew and we were about to set off when my friend arrived and he gladly handed me over.
The get-together at Kampung Senang’s premises went uneventfully enough: good organic vegetarian food, followed by vegetarian ice-cream and moon cakes be4 the main groups broke up, to take a busload of guests from Kuala Lumpur to their lodgings at Poh Ern Shih for the week-end when more sun rise and sun set ceremonies would be held.
Suddenly, I realised to my horror that my friend had gone with the groups to help with the check-in, while my other friend was still eating her dinner. And I needed to get back to my car for the long drive westwards and home.
I wasn’t quite sure how to get to where my car was because I didn’t pay attention when I was escorted to Block 840! And I wasn’t going to go searching for my car by myself at close to 10pm in an unfamiliar HDB environment, especially with the Woodlands murder still making the headlines.
Looking around, I found a small man who turned out to be a long time volunteer at Kampung Senang and quickly asked him to accompany me. He turned out to be a Singapore PR from Hebei, China, been here for 20 years and a proud HDB home owner!
To cut a long story short, we found my car but certainly not by the same path that I got to Kampung Senang. I’m sure nothing untoward would have happened had I left by myself but my motto in life has always been “why take the risk when there’s no need to”.
Oh here’s a map of where Kampung Senang is situated. It’s a veritable maze to those not used to the layout of HDB estates.