My attachment to Arab St and Sultan Gate started way back in the day. Since as far I can remember, this place has set the canvas for a great deal of memories in my life that I shared with family and friends. From the weekends spent getting our Nasi Padang fix at Pariaman and Sabar Menanti, to Murtabak for Iftar at Victory or Zamzam, and the occasional birthday celebrations over Biryani at Islamic, these were some of the most memorable times from my childhood, for which I bring with me for most of my life. These are sentimental stories that I treasure and share with others.
This same place would also be a reminder of the best years I’ve spent with my dad, his final years these were.
The times I spent here with my dad was along Baghdad St., Bussorah St. and mostly on Arab St. Each time we were here, it is almost a ritual that we will first off head to Toko Aljunied and Aljunied Brothers, where my dad will be catching up with old mates. These are two very prominent family-owned businesses in the area, having been around for decades long. He’d be chatting away as I stand around to admire the intricate Batik on display or simply enjoy the scents of Oud and Gharuwood. Such scent was synonymous with my Arabic heritage.
Samar Café was another spot in the area for us to fraternise with the local faction. While my dad spent hours in discussion to advocate Arab heritage and traditions, there I was, happily sip down my glass of Qamaradeen, just people watching. At other times, I was either learning some basic beats on the Darbouka or engaged in a witty conversation with my dad.
And now, long after his demise, I still enjoy spending time around Sultan Gate. With family or friends, it is always a great place to gather, whether you choose to bask on the lawns of the Istana or enjoy live music under the stars. It is so rich in history, heritage and culture, and yet, Sultan Gate still serves as a blank canvas for many to paint their version of life stories.
Here at SULTANGATE.SG, I am looking forward to share with you more stories from the streets where it all begun. Look out for our Feature Stories on the home page and keep up with the journey through our Facebook, SultanGate.SG and Instagram, @sultangate.sg.
Written by : Junid
Photo by : Wanie Maz