Our dojo, is not a permanent place. It is actually a rooftop hall, for any sorts of events, it just so happens to be rented to a bunch of Aikidokas.
It’s probably the most peculiar place to find a place to practice Aikido, with no disrespect to the Indian, Ceylonese community, Aikido is a Japanese art, martial art, and has little or nothing to do with the folks we are renting the place from.
So we occupy the rooftop, and being the highest floor of the building (its only three storey high), we get a rather commanding view of the magnificent green field below. Sometimes we will have some of the club diners and visitors looking up at the roof top, wondering why do they see people practicing ‘karate’ here? (Even in Singapore, we still suffer the stereotypes of anyone wearing a gi, is either, ‘Karate’, or ‘Tae Kwon Do’)
Harry sensei shared with me a little about the Ceylon Sports Club, he mentioned to me that the ‘waiters’ serving food at the Club’s quaint cafeteria are Sri Lankans, and the Club gave them lodging and food, with a token sum of money, whilst they find jobs in Singapore, and in exchange for that, they also helped to serve food and drinks to the Club’s members and guests.
Long before i was born, there was a car pack in front of the club, which is now replaced by a heavily used slip road leading up to an expressway. With the lack of parking area, the club’s popularity felled.
The entire piece of land which the club sits on, including the huge green fields the club use for their cricket matches is rented, from the government, and at a whim, the government might ‘wise up’ and take the land back. Impermanence is a statutory requirement here.
There was some conflict between us and the landlords in the past, all the cleanliness we practice is not shared by our landlord. Harry sensei will cuss about how dirty the place is and grumbled about it while he cleans.
This helps me realise that these buildings are like sentinels, providing shelters and values to people, many dreams are built and shattered here at this very spot. How often have we passed by a building for the millionth time and we never even took a glance and appreciated it for just being build there?