SINGAPORE is a shopping paradise with everything from luxury brands on Orchard Road to Chinatown’s buzzing markets catering to visitors on a quest to worship the gods of retail.
But there are also edgy enclaves around the Lion City where those dedicated to bespoke style have established indie havens that are home to stores selling everything from handmade stationery and designer bicycles to bespoke clothing and fair-trade coffee.
Haji Lane, in the heart of Kampong Glam, is one such destination with two blocks in the heart of Singapore’s Arab Quarter home to trendy outlets and cool eateries.
This blink-and-you’ll-miss-it address first appeared on the island nation’s what’s-hot list a few years ago and I try to visit every time I’m in Singapore to check out the city’s indie scene and eat ice cream at a little cafe down in the Beach Road end of the lane.
On this visit I discover the boutiques are still there, the ice-cream shop is gone, there are a lot more bars and less coffee shops, and street art is thriving in Haji Lane.
I spotted this monotone mural on a wall at the intersection of Baghdad Street with the faces dramatically filling the white space and catching my attention with their exact expressions.
A work that would sit comfortably beside canvases from South-East Asian masters hanging in the new National Gallery Singapore.