I met Tzong Sheng along with Edward on that fateful day right before the official start of my project. What I expected to be a casual meal at one of the oldest and most recognised Indian vegetarian restaurants, Komala Vilas, was an encounter that significantly shaped the course of my project. While Edward was a lot more vocal in sharing his personal experiences of Little India, Tzong Sheng sat on the side and offered inputs in a more reserved manner. Perhaps I was guilty of making the assumption that as an ethnic Chinese, he would not have had as much experience in Little India that would justify being a part of my project.
I was, however, proven wrong when over the next few meetings Tzong Sheng shared about how in his younger days his family would make many visits to Little India to experience the sights and sounds, his fond memory of a specific curry puff vendor that his family always frequented, and how today as a father he makes very intentional efforts to bring his children to Little India to expose them to a culture outside of their own. On top of that, I was also amazed as his artistic skills! Having done the collaborative creation session together with Edward, I recall the latter exclaiming that Tzong Sheng must do lots of art with his children at home, to which he happily affirmed.
By Neil Chan