Clifford Pier used to be a hive of activity for sea travellers. Among the commuters who used the pier were devotees going to Kusu Island, one of the Southern Islands.
The island, which houses a Chinese temple, among other things, attracted people such as Madam Tan Bock Eng, 80, and Madam Poon Soo Lan, 86, who in their youth would visit the island once a year with their friends to pray.
On Sept 20, the women visited Clifford Pier together as part of the Home Nursing Foundation's Shine Through Their Golden Years Campaign - a series of outings for home-bound seniors to revisit places from their past. The bulk of the cost of these outings was borne by the healthcare service provider.
At Clifford Pier, Madam Tan and Madam Poon, who live alone in one-room rental flats in the same block in Bukit Merah, posed for photos. Before the outing, Madam Poon had signed up for a simple makeover by volunteers from the Home Nursing Foundation.
Since the pier is now defunct - the last bumboat left in 2006 after sea traffic was relocated to Marina South Pier - the Home Nursing Foundation took them on a cruise along the Singapore River.
Madam Tan, who used to work as a housekeeper in a hotel, said: "The river used to be littered with bits and pieces of paper. Coolies would run up and down the river, and shophouses, which used to store rice, were plainer in colour. Now they look vibrant and inviting."
Madam Tan, who never married, said she used to go to Queen Elizabeth Walk, which was a popular dating spot, to people-watch.
The outing, which included lunch at a dimsum restaurant, took about four hours.
Nurses from the Home Nursing Foundation visit the two seniors once a month.
Madam Poon, a retired seamstress who was widowed 38 years ago and has no children, said: "I'm glad to have been taken on a trip to the Singapore River and to take in the view. There are so many more buildings along the bay today."
Madam Tan added: "It can get lonely in our flats, apart from the times we head down to our void deck to catch up with neighbours and friends, so we are very grateful for the trip. We look forward to special outings like this."
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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