I like buying wafer ice cream from these roadside vendors. It’s tasty and it’s very affordable ($1 each!), and best enjoyed while people-watching, especially along Orchard Road, one of the busiest shopping districts in Singapore.
These ice cream uncles (“uncle” is a Singaporean term used to address a male elder) seem to have lots of stories hidden behind their weathered smiles. I once watched a documentary about these ice cream uncles. One of them stood out to me: an old man who doesn’t have a motorcycle license and therefore has to cycle for a long distance to the supplier before cycling another few kilometres to sell his ice cream. He does this, rain or shine, every single day, always with a smile on his face, missing teeth and all. What he earns each day can barely make ends meet, and he mentioned in the show that he doesn’t have any family. Yet he still faces the harsh world with a genuine smile every day. He reminds me of my grandpa. Many old folk are like this; they’ve seen it all and aren’t concerned about money at all. It’s always inspiring to interact with elders like them once in while, and to remind myself that it isn’t so hard to be happy.
For this piece, I just really wanted to capture that smile on the uncle’s face. I thought he would be even happier if there are kids to play with him every day.