This place is so different. The building is so beautiful and grand, with such high ceilings. The sun was very bright today, light shining through the glass roof. It is very cold.
My granddaughter wanted to bring me here. She said that I should leave the house more often. She has been saying that since I retired, but today she actually brought me out. I said yes to make her happy, but I was also curious. This place is far away from home.
We went to get our tickets. Someone in a grey uniform greeted us. He looked to be the same age as myself. He spoke to my daughter in English, then, he turned to me: “Auntie, 慢慢走 啊!”¹ I nodded.
This place is so big. I have no idea how to go around, so I just follow my granddaughter. It is so quiet and so empty. I hear my shoes squeak against the wooden floors.
The first room is quite nice. My granddaughter read some of the names to me. They are familiar – 刘抗, 张荔英². There are many paintings of my childhood, like the kampongs and the old shophouses. It makes me smile. There are some sculptures too, but I did not go too close. My granddaughter kept pointing at the long black tape on the floor, telling me to be careful. I kept forgetting, and people kept looking at me.
I wanted to walk on my own so that my granddaughter could walk on her own too, but it was so difficult to move around. This place is too confusing. I just followed her around in the end. My granddaughter walks quite fast. She would stop for me but I did not want to let her wait too long. My legs were tired anyway.
The next few rooms are interesting but I cannot understand them. The colours are nice, but the patches of paint do not make sense. I am starting to get tired. It is still very cold.
My granddaughter said me there are still many rooms left to see, but I want to leave. She said okay. She brings me to the gift shop. We go down to the first floor, and walk towards the bright and colourful area. I do not recognise most of the products. They look expensive. They are so neat, so clean, so shiny. My granddaughter said she was going to look at some books and told me to walk around first.
I move towards the cards on the wall. They have the paintings on them, but they are so small. What can I do with them? But I saw one that I liked, so I picked it up. There was no price tag. I bring it to the cashier. The young lady there looked the same age as my granddaughter.
She told me that one card was $1.90. Just for a card? I thought it was too expensive. My granddaughter came to the cashier and said that she would pay for it. I watch the young lady pack the card while talking to my granddaughter. She gives me the card with a smile. I nod at her.
My granddaughter kept asking me if I liked this place. I just nod. I don’t know if I like it, but I didn’t want to let her down. A security guard opens the door for us. Outside, the sun is very bright, but I still feel cold.
1 “Auntie, walk slowly!” (Used colloquially as a polite phrase)
2 Liu Kang, Georgette Chen