This morning we went to the Gurdwara on Wilkie Road, the Akhand Path was ongoing. Fauja Singh was due to arrive later in the morning to meet the Sangat there. Fauja Singh (Punjabi: ਫੌਜਾ ਸਿੰਘ) (born 1 April 1911) is a British centenarian marathon runner of Punjabi Sikh origin. He is a world record holder in his age bracket. His current personal best time for the London Marathon (2003) is 6 hours 2 minutes, and his marathon record, for age 90-plus, is 5 hours 40 minutes, at the age of 92, at the 2003 Toronto Waterfront Marathon.
Singh has stated, “I won’t stop running until I die. The next target, God willing, is to be the oldest marathon runner ever.” and, “At the time when people start retiring, I thought of running at the age of 63…and today I won the marathon at 93 years of age.”
In 2004, Singh was featured in an advertising campaign for sportswear manufacturer Adidas alongside David Beckham and Muhammad Ali.
Singh holds UK records for the 200 m, 400 m, 800 m, mile and 3000 m for his age group, records all set within a single 94 minute period.
At the age of 100 (and a half), Singh attempted and accomplished eight world age group records in one day, at the special Ontario Masters Association Fauja Singh Invitational Meet, held at Birchmount Stadium in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Timed by officials in Canada, He ran the 100 metres in 23.14, 200 metres in 52.23, the 400 metres in 2:13.48, the 800 metres in 5:32.18, the 1500 metres in 11:27.81, the mile in 11:53.45, the 3000 metres in 24:52.47 and the 5000 metres in 49:57.39, setting five world records for his age group in one day. Each time bested the previous record in that age division (some events had no previous record holder, as nobody over age 100 had ever attempted the distance). Some of his marks are significantly superior to the listed world record in the M95 age group as well.
Three days later, on 16 October 2011, Singh became the first 100 year old to finish a marathon, completing the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 8:11:06. As it took him over 14 minutes after the gun to cross the starting line, the official time submitted for the age group record will be 8:25:17. However, Guinness World Records refused to include Singh in its record book due to the fact that he could not produce his birth certificate to prove his age. Birth records were not kept in India in 1911, however it is claimed that records written in Urdu date back to 23 February 1879. He was able to produce a passport listing his date of birth as 1 April 1911, and a letter from Queen Elizabeth II congratulating him on his 100th birthday.
In October 2011, Singh, a vegetarian, became the oldest man to be featured in a PETA campaign. In July 2012, Fauja Singh carried the Olympic torch.
A great posture, most people half his age have a poor posture
Fauja Singh led the sangat in a jog around Mount Emily Park, just opposite the Gurdwara (and our hostel). Whilst Fauja Singh was running outside a couple was watching, I invited them inside to hear the talk. Andrew the chap came inside.
Andrew is running in the full 26mile (42km) marathon tomorrow. All the best Andrew. Andrew was very inspired by Fauja Singh, he stayed a while and got Fauja Singh’s autograph. Andrew used to be a hedge fund trader in London, he then moved to China. Now that his wife is expecting, they have decided to move to Singapore.
Getting some tips from Fauja Singh’s coach, for when I do the marathon. At the moment I am just bulking up!
Whilst Sangeet was having Guru Ka Langar, I popped to Sim Lim Square to purchase the keyboard.
Not bad for SGD$20
Afterwards, we went for a wander in Little India.
Sangeet was looking for a cheap suit, so obviously Little India is the place to go! A Sikh man we passed on the street recommended the Tekka Centre so we headed there.
Me pretending to enjoy Little India
I was getting very wound up, when I saw the shop keepers ‘pestering’ Sangeet. So two options stay, get wound up and punch the shopkeeper or leave. I chose the latter. As I was leaving the heavens opened up and there was a downpour, I was drenched!
I walked past the durian fruit stall, you can smell the fruits from bout 500 yards away and this was in the open. Just imagine it was in a small indoor shop. I was tempted to buy it but the smell from eating durian was still lingering around me!!
In the evening Sangeet went to the Gurdwara where we met.
After a very lazy morning we checked out of the hotel. The rate for tonight would have been SGD$400!
Sangeet looked up the programmes at the Gurdwara, there was a Sukhmani Sahib Paath starting at 2pm. Sukhmani Sahib is the name given to the set of hymns divided into 24 sections which appear in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy Scriptures on ang 262. Each section, which is called an Ashtpadi(asht means 8), consists of 8 hymns per Ashtpadi. The word Sukhmani literally means Peace in your mind. This set of Hymns or Bani is very popular among the Sikhs, who frequently recite it in their places of worship called Gurdwaras and at home. The full recital takes about 90 minutes and is normally undertaken by everyone in the congregation.
Central Sikh Temple
2 Towner Road
T+ 65 6299 3855
F + 65 6296 1921
In 1912, with the assistance of a Sindhi merchant named Wassiamull, a group of Sikhs bought a bungalow with a large compound at 175 Queen Street and turned it into a gurdwara. The gurdwara became known as the Central Sikh Temple when other temples were established. It was also known as the Wadda Gurdwara (‘The Big Temple’).
The temple was reconstructed in 1921. The congregation hall was on the first floor and the kitchen and other facilities on the ground floor. It is the custom for Sikh temples to provide food and lodging to travellers.
In 1937, the government decided to set up a corporate board of trustees for the temple. In 1940, the Queen Street Gurdwara Ordinance was enacted. It provided for a board of trustees named the Queen Street Gurdwara Board of Trustees (Incorporated) made up of equal numbers of nominees from the Majha, Malwa and Doabha factions of the congregation.
In 1925, rivalry for leadership amongst the factions led them to form their own gurdwaras. Today, these gurdwaras are registered as societies and only two Sikh temples are recognised as public temples. The Central Sikh Temple remains the main temple for all Sikhs. The Silat Road temple which is also managed by the Central Sikh Temple is the other recognised public temple.
In 1959, plans for a new temple and the move away from Queen Street to a new site in Newton were formed. There were factions in the congregation that preferred to remain in Queen Street. An adjoining plot of land with nine houses on it was purchased for $100,000. The plans for the new temple here were approved by the Government in 1963. However, it was never built due to internal disagreement.
In 1976, the land adjoining the temple site was acquired by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. A year later, the land on which the temple stood was acquired. In December 1979, the temple was vacated and was temporarily housed in the former Bukit Ho Swee Community Centre at Seng Poh Road.
Plans for a new temple in Towner Road were conceived in 1983. Its construction began in 1984 and was completed in April 1986. The Central Sikh Temple at Towner Road was officially opened in November that year.
We decided to take the taxi, which are fairly cheap in Singapore, plus we were having a lazy day!
The Gurdwara is very beautiful and the Paath was recited with love.
Afterwards we took the MRT back from Boon Keng MRT to Orchard.
The Mass Rapid Transit or MRT is a rapid transit system forming the major component of the railway system in Singapore, spanning the entire city-state. The initial section of the MRT, between Yio Chu Kang and Toa Payoh, opened in 1987, making it the second-oldest metro system in Southeast Asia, after Manila’s LRT System. The network has since grown rapidly in accordance with Singapore’s aim of developing a comprehensive rail network as the backbone of the public transport system in Singapore, with an average daily ridership of 2.406 million in 2011, approximately 71% of the bus network’s 3.385 million in the same period.
The MRT network has 102 stations with 148.9 km (92.52 mi) of lines in operation, on standard gauge. The lines are built by the Land Transport Authority, a statutory board of the Government of Singapore, which allocates operating concessions to the profit-based corporations, SMRT Corporation and SBS Transit. These operators also run bus and taxi services, thus facilitating full integration of public transport services. The MRT is complemented by a small number of regional Light Rail Transit (LRT) systems in Bukit Panjang, Sengkang and Punggol that link MRT stations with HDB public housing estates. Services operate from about 5:30 am and usually end before 1 a.m. daily with intervals of approximately three to eight minutes, and services extended during festive periods such as Chinese New Year.
Fantastic street decorations
Everybody in the MRT was glued to their phones. I would have been but could not log onto the free wifi!
The MRT journey costs SGD$2.40, you get a plastic ticket:
Once you start your journey you swipe the plastic ticket against the entry onto platform machine and it deducts SGD$1.40. Once you have completed your journey you deposit the ticket and it gives you a SGD$1.00 refund. Such a fantastic idea.
Orchard Road is lit up elaborately nearer the end of every year for the Christmas festive season.
Orchard Road is a 2.2 kilometre-long street that is the retail and entertainment hub of Singapore. It is a major tourist attraction, in addition to being the most popular shopping enclave in the city-state. Often, the surrounding area is known simply as Orchard, partly because the MRT station that serves the vicinity is named Orchard.
The Orchard Planning Area is one of 55 urban planning areas as specified by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, and is a commercial district. It is part of the Central Region, and Singapore’s central business district, the Central Area.
Orchard Road underwent a $40 million revamp in 2009, with the addition of new street lamps, planter boxes, urban green rooms, street tiling and flower totem poles, which have since been removed.
On the way to the hostel, which was again by taxi, Sangeet noticed a Gurdwara two houses away! What a fantastic blessing, to be so close to the Gurdwara.
Once we checked in and dropped off the bags, we walked over to the Gurdwara.
Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha
90/92 Wilkie Road,
T: +65 6337 6301
F +65 6337 5160
Gurdwara Sahib Sri Guru Singh Sabha is one of the oldest Sikh institutions in Singapore established by the early immigrant Sikh community in 1918.
The first building was located close to the old Central Sikh Temple at Queens Street. The congregation used rented premises until the property at 90 Wilkie Road was acquired in 1932. Extensive structural changes were made to prepare the congregational hall on the first floor. In 1968 an adjoining plot of land was purchased for the construction of an entirely new premises. Construction on this new building began in 1978 and was completed in 1980. The new gurdwara was declared officially opened in 1984. The old premises was converted into a ‘jangh ghar’ where receptions for wedding events were held for a short period. This use for the old building was discontinued and has since been converted to a Gurmat Parchar Centre for use by the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Youth Wing for Sikhi parchar and as accomodations for residential camps (samelans) during schools holidays.
Guess who’s coming to town:
Afterwards we decided to have a wander to Little India, which is about twenty minutes walk. In Singapore it has been very very clean, peaceful, quiet, superb. As soon as you ‘enter’ Little India you see a warning sign “dengue fever alert”. The area is exactly like India. Cars beeping, massive crowds, very dirty streets….I am not surprised there is a dengue fever alert. This was a total assault on my senses. I hated the place. Sangeet wants to add on India to this trip, I am not sure I could handle it! On entering Little India I saw a line of mice moving out, even they were looking for a better area to live!!!
Hi, thanks for visiting my blog, feel free and have a look around.Here is a bit about me, as you may or may not have guessed my name is Mandeep,I work to travel as opposed to work to pay bills and die!Every trip for me is an adventure, I have been very fortunate to stumble across amazing places and meet awesome people along the way.
Why gaygoat? When I first started this blog I was a vegetarian, so gaygoat – happy goat! Also you have to admit it is catchy and a URL you will not forget!