Photo Credits Here

By: Nwe Cherry

When I was younger I used to come home from school everyday, only to change out of my school uniform and quickly head downstairs again. My friend would be waiting for me at the stairs near the lift lobby, changed and ready as well.

Then, we’d run around the neighbourhood, exploring and marveling at anything we’d see. We’d play hide and seek across two playgrounds, only separated by a narrow road where cars rarely drove by. I used to cheat in that game. I’d hide behind the pillar of the HDB flat near the playground, peeking out occasionally to sneak a laugh at my friend who would be desperately searching for me. And when he was not looking, I would quickly walk out and creep up behind him before- “Boo!” He’d jump in surprise before joining me as I burst out in laughter.

Sometimes, we’d go a little further – outside the boundaries of the playgrounds – and venture across the main road, heading towards our school. On the way there there’d be a small convenience store, a mama shop as we’d like to call it. With the small amount of pocket money we had, we’d buy Super Rings (30cents), Wang Wang (10cents) and when we felt “rich”, a cup of instant noodles shared between us. We’d walk to a nearby basketball court carrying our snacks, sitting down to watch the older kids playing basketball. We might have joined in, but we preferred to be on our own as we talked about mundane everyday things. “What did you have for dinner last night?” “Did you hear about the new game?” “Did you watch that episode of Spongebob where he sketched an evil drawing of himself? So funny!”

Soon, it would get dark – too late for primary school children to be outside on their own. So we’d head back the way we came, walking as slowly as possible because we never wanted to go home. We never wanted to leave.

But only change is constant.

The playgrounds renovated; the monkey bars and the swings are no longer there. A fitness corner appeared, attracting the older generation in addition to children like us. The mama shop down the road closed down, replaced by a modern air conditioned 7-11. A kindergarten was built under one of the blocks, and as I walk back home everyday, I’d see kids playing excitedly with their friends, just like I was.

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