As today is my last (!!) solo-adventure Saturday in Singapore, I wanted to spend today checking off things on my bucket list. As in the past solo adventures, the places I went to will be broken up into a numbered list.
In today’s solo adventure, I went to a lot of museums and learned about the culture and history of Singapore. You could say that I was educating myself to become a more cultured person (cultured like super probiotic yogurt hehehe). Anyways, I just wanted to make the yogurt pun. Here we go!
Stop 1: Changi Museum
After a hawker centre breakfast, I went to Changi Museum as my first offical stop. Changi Museum is located on the other side of Singapore from NUS, so I wanted to come here first and work my way back across the island.
Admission was free, but I opted to get an audio listening device to hear about the different things on display from the narrators. The museum was focused on life in Singapore during WWII. During WWII, the Japanese took over Singapore from the British. The Japanese renamed Singapore to “Syonan-to,” meaning “Light of the South.” They ruled Singapore for three years until the Japanese surrender at the end of WWII.
Life in Singapore under the Japanese was hard. Since many Japanese soldiers were veterans of the Sino-Japanese War, there was a huge hatred of Chinese people. Up to 75,000 Chinese Singaporeans were tortured and murdered just for their race. The audio tour had a few narrators that were actually civilian prisoners and prisoners of war in Singapore under the Japanese.
It was saddening to hear about the pain and torture the Japanese inflicted on the Singaporeans. Women were sold into brothels and forced to become pleasure women for the Japanese soldiers, while men were sent to build the Burma Railway, otherwise known as the “Death Railway” since so many people died building it.
Photos aren’t allowed inside the museum, so the only one I have is from the Changi Chapel outside. After I finished going through the museum, I took a bus to the Simei MRT station and had lunch in the nearby mall.
Stop 2: National Library
Someone in my lab suggested that I go here since I love books. Since this was near the same MRT station as Kampong Glam (Bugis MRT), I decided to stop here for a bit.
Inside, there were 11 floors and 2 basement floors (so 13 total- spooky). Each floor was dedicated to a few specific topics, which I thought was really nice. On the 10th floor there was an exhibit that featured highlights of the National Library. It also had a few panels about the history of the National Library and Singapore.
Stop 3: Kampong Glam
First in Kampong Glam, I visited the Sultan Mosque. I was lucky that I got there around 3:40pm since visiting hours end at 4pm. Since I was wearing shorts, the people at the mosque gave me something to cover up with.
As you can see in the picture, there was a food festival right outside the mosque. I didn’t even know this food festival was going on, but I think it is to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
After Sultan Mosque, I visited the Malay Heritage Centre. I thought it was nice that we were allowed to take off our shoes before entering the Heritage Centre, so that we don’t track dirt inside. Before the Malay Heritage Centre was used as a museum, it was the offical residence of Malaysian royalty when they came to visit Singapore. I thought that was really cool. The nice architecture and hardwood floors inside were certainly fit for a king.
The heritage centre was a good way of learning about Malaysian culture and their lives in Singapore. There was even a part about Malaysian music and film, and a TV was running through clips of Malaysian movies!
Stop 4: Little India
Not-so-fun fact: A bird pooped on me when I was walking to the Indian Heritage Centre! Yeah, it was awful and warm and gooey. I had to walk into the Indian Heritage Center and buy my ticket before I could go to the bathroom and clean up the bird poop. Eeeewwwww.
Anyways, the Indian Heritage Centre is located in a super fancy building right next to the Little India Arcade, which is a nice touristy shopping center. Permanent exhibitions are on the 3rd and 4th floors.
I liked that there was information all about the Singaporean Indian lifestyle and how they came to Singapore. There was even a hat-trying part of the exhibit! Of course, I had to try on the hats.
Through this, I learned so much about Indian (espcially south Indian) culture. This museum did a good job with the interactive parts as well as the static parts.
Stop 5: Esplanade
The Esplanade is the durian-shaped building near Marina Bay Sands. It’s used as a concert hall/entertainment center. I wanted to see a concert here before I left Singapore, and I heard that they have a lot of free concerts, so I went tonight!
On the way there, I saw some kind of interesting kind of modern pipe art, so I thought that would be nice to share with you guys.
The band that was playing tonight was called the Celtic Bards, a Singaporean duo who play Irish folk music. The concert only lasted about half and hour, but I really enjoyed it! I’ve never listened to Irish folk music before (much less listen to it live), so I only snapped a few pictures of the duo before putting my phone away to I could enjoy the music.
That’s all, folks! See ya next time!