Monday, August 24, 2009
Serene Centre: During my secondary school days
I seem to have an affinity for the Bukit Timah area. My grandmother lives nearby Serene Centre, and my secondary school's premises used to be nearby Serene Centre too.
When I was a teenager, the indoor playground that used to be in the premises of Serene Centre's MacDonald's outlet was replaced by an area whereby people could hold birthday parties. I hope my memory got this right, did I? Anyway, during the teenage years, I won't have any fancy for the indoor playground even if it were to be there.
As mentioned earlier, my secondary school's building used to be located within walking distance from Serene Centre. If one were to take a slow stroll, it should take about 20 minutes or less to reach Serene Centre from my secondary school's building.
I used to be a member of my secondary school's Chinese Orchestra. If I look back, I think there was much enthuasiasm in me and my peers that we would actually take the trouble to go to school even on school holidays just to attend sectionals and orchestral rehearsals. One of the highlights for me during those school holidays was an occasional visit to the Serene Centre's MacDonald's outlet. We had to find a place outside the school-premises for lunch during the school holidays.
You see, during school holidays, none of the stalls in the school-canteen would be in operation. I can't figure out why during the school holidays, the Chinese Orchestra's sectionals had to be in the morning and the orchestral rehearsals in the afternoon. If I remember correctly, sectionals started as early as 9 a.m. Orchestra rehearsals would start by 2 p.m. Between the sectionals and the rehearsals, we would have about an hour or two for lunch. The lack of facilities selling food in school basically meant that we had to travel out of the school for lunch. Other than the nearby chicken-rice stall that used to sit along King's Road, the MacDonald's outlet at Serene Centre was the next popular choice.
Frankly speaking, I have no particular liking for the burgers or the fries. It was the spirit of camaraderie that I could enjoy when going out with my peers from the Chinese Orchestra that made the visits to Serene Centre one of the highlights of my school holidays. Firstly, it was a rare treat. Secondly, the place was one of the few eating-places in the area back then that was air-conditioned and fairly affordable to students. Thirdly, the people who were my companions added colour and fun to the visit and lunch.
Those were some of the memorable days in my life. The friends and folks who were with us during the growing-up years can in many ways make our lives so much more enriched. Thank goodness for peers who were with me during my teenage years.