Saturday, 4 January 2020

Raffles

SATURDAY 4Jan20

We felt compelled to visit to Raffles, that bastion of colonialism and testament to the spirit of our materialistic age, newly refurbished and reopened. It stands as spotless and brilliantly white as any mosque or temple, with its grand balconies, marble floors, and extravagant chandeliers. We had pre-ordered their tea, but like so many places, the quality of food and service fell short of the expectation generated by their high prestige. We have enjoyed many high teas at various spots in London, and so often it is the smaller, less pretentious places that provide the best quality.

Afterwards, we enjoyed the authentic Singapore Slings, a cocktail disguised as a fruit drink originally developed to allow women to drink while pretending to be virtuously teetotal - true hypocricy never ages. We approached the Long Bar which was crowded and filthy from the habit of throwing peanut shells on the floor, but chose to sit in the warm sunlight downstairs, where we could be served at the table and sit on clean floors. I must admit the drink is delicious, and could become my favourite cocktail. Ann was feeling off colour, hot with a sore throat, and had been unable to manage much of the tea, but she did enjoy being a colonial lady enjoying a surreptitious drink.
Ann and the Singapore Sling

Raffles has a famous link to a friend and neighbour from Clare days: Pauline's father was manager up until the Japanese invasion, when his services were no longer needed, and he languished and died under Japan's rule.  Also, Ann's father was a Chindit, serving behind Japanese lines after the fall of Singapore in 1942, and may have passed through the island, although his exact history is now vague.

Leaving Raffles, we headed to Merlion park to view the famous emblem of the city,  a majestic beast that like the whole of Singapore is spotless in its cleanliness and working to perfection, with a huge fountain jetting across the bay.
Ann and Edwin at Merlion
John's Sling


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