Since having children, weekends are, amongst a few other things, all about trying to read the papers. All 5 sections of them. If this can be achieved in a day, mission accomplished; and if it can be done in a single sitting, that’s all the better. There are a few hard to come by places conducive to parents being able to loll around and read whilst small people entertain themselves.
One was the Killiney Kopitiam on the edge of Millenia Walk mall, which looked on to acres of deserted concrete and shallow water features where they could splash and run around whilst you read. I am not sure why, perhaps because of our all too frequent visits, but the undulating paving, water and sculptures are now strictly look but don’t touch and have been cordoned off. Kaya toast and kopi-c no longer hold the same appeal.
Cue my new favourite, if unlikely, weekend activity: prawning. Discovered for the first time this Sunday, be warned though, it’s not for the sombong. The compulsory attire seems to be a singlet, shorts and flipflops. The look: like you have shuffled here after eating chee kway in the wet market. My patent ballet flats lost me valuable points amongst my fellow prawners (see below).
But ignore all that. Prawning rocks. You sit around an entirely artificial shallow pool, trimmed with a big concrete ledge just big enough for resting your feet on as you lounge back in a hideous, but really rather comfortable, white plastic armchair.
Feet on ledge is the protocol I soon realised – all was forgiven in the shoe department as long as I lounged correctly.
Everyone else fishing was fascinating to watch: there was the mainland Chinese lady who chain smoked even whilst fixing the bait on to her hook and seemed to land a prawn every 5 minutes, a taxi uncle coming off his shift, a travel agent from Malaysia and his little boy, and so it went on.
A lot harder than it looks or sounds, (I mean, it’s incredibly unsporting…we are talking about live prawns shoved into a paddling-pool-sized tank that’s replenished hourly with new stock) we paid for an hour and despite lots of bites, failed to hook a single thing.
Most people seemed to be here just to hang out and for the ‘sport’ of it all (if you can call it a sport) rather than to keep their catch. We must have looked so hopeless that donated prawns – luckily – came from almost every angle.
But the important thing of all is that it occupies small people, who love it and dash about meeting other children or stand still and hold the fishing rod (which can also be propped up though some sort of tubing thus enabling paper reading).
And in our one hour trip to the Haibin Prawning outlet and I read the entire Sunday papers. Supplements and all.
Prawning generally happens in quite (ulu) out-of-the-way areas. We went to the one in Jurong, 241 Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim in The Village that is essentially part of the carpark at Jurong Birdpark and only about a 15 minute drive from Mount Sinai. It costs $18 for an hour of fishing.
Bring: wet wipes (the bait provided is a bit icky) and of course newspapers (for reading). You can buy drinks there, including beer, much to H’s delight.