Thursday, January 9, 2014

2013 New years eve in Singapore

The end of the year is always a special day. First of all its new years eve, and secondly its My sister Karina's birthday on the 31st of December. Being the thoughtful brother I am, I always try and make surprises for her every time on her birthday. This new years eve I spent it in Singapore with my family eating out in a restaurant called Zam-zam which is a great place to eat some murtabaks in Arab street. So at dinner, I asked those kind lads at Zam-zam to write "happy birthday" on the murtabaks that we ordered, and also to sing happy birthday for my sister since she loves seeing funny guys. In the end, the whole restaurant ended up singing happy birthday to her, what a success on my end.

Anyways, since its new years eve, me, Karin, and our cousins went out for a stroll to catch some fireworks and just walk around at night around the bayfront since our hotel was in Peninsula and it was the nearest place to catch fireworks, and it seems like a great idea at the time.

But we thought wrong, since the bay is the only place to see fireworks go out in Singapore, the whole Singapore population came down there, thus crowd was forming. Next, the paths leading to the marina was rerouted by the SGPD for crowd control so our fastest way there which is to cross through the esplanade park was blocked. Since roadblocks were everywhere in esplanade park, I had to go back to city hall mrt to catch a train to bayfront. The mrt was relatively fast, but as soon as I got out the bayfront station, crowd gathers again. 

By now, everyone in Singapore which includes locals, tourists, and a group of Quilt wearing Scotish dudes were making their way to the countdown in the bay. Everywhere we go, we are met with crowds. The people in My group were getting tired and cranky. So we opted to find a suitable place to sit on the gardens by the bay park, not inside it, just outside the gardens. 

The clock hits midnight and the countdown reached 0, the fireworks blew up and lit the Singapore skyline full of vibrant colors, just as The Wanted finished their set somewhere on the bay. I know because I recognize their song and the thousands of fan girls screaming out to them. Me and my sist, and my cousins made the most of the "what seemed like 5 minute" firework display from our spot behind the marina bay sands hotel. The fireworks were going off on the other side of the building, the one overlooking the bay and not the gardens. But hey, we saw some fireworks going off and that was fine.

After the display, the crowd moved back inside marina bay sands to make their way into the bayfront mrt station. That meant that our option to take the train is out the window, you should see the crow over there which looks like an ocean of people, CRAZY. So we opted for a bus, but the bus was full and skipped our station. Taxi's were nowhere to be seen, so the only way for us to get back to the hotel was by.... yes, by walking from marina bay sands to raffles city. What a night...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A visit to the Singapore National Museum

An old English war poster of the allies

I'm no history buff, when it comes to going to places like a library, war memorials, or even museums you could say that I'm the type of person that likes to stay out by the entrance and wait it out. Dont get me wrong, museums are filled with fascinating stories and so called "knowledge". In fact, it is a place where you might find the answer to last weeks history (if any). But I was never a fan of museums because I think that its boring.

Nevertheless, When my cousin Alia asks me to come visit a museum after my mom's (and mine's) shopping sesh in Takashimaya, I decided to come along to the museum. She didn't specify which museum, but I had the Singapore arts museum in mind because most of my "artsy hipster" friends is visiting the arts museum. After a quick bus trip lead by Karin, We ended up in front of the Singapore national museum.

At first I imagined the place to look like the "gajah" museum back home in Jakarta. Boring, dull, pale, hot and dirty, with a chance of some restless spirits lingering around the "mystical" kampoeng ceremonial burial dolls. The national museum of Singapore is not as the "gajah" museum, its fully air conditioned, I got a digital companion tablet so I can her audio guides around the museum, but in some exhibits like the "fall of Singapore" and Chinese traditional garments which were held out like crosses give me goosebumps. The Chinese Outfits kinda give out some otherworldly aura.

Melayu movies
An old map of Sigapore

old melayu stories on paper
Nevertheless, some of the other parts of the museum were quite fascinating, even for my standards. There is a Singaporean entertainment history section which houses vintage movie posters, play flyers, and magazines. There's even a short movie scene that bares a resemblance to old Dono Kasino Indro movies playing from the digital projector, in black and white of course. The British settlement section also caught my eye as I love it how Singapore has got some old british style architecture in Bugis and other places, and its numbers of British expats :).

Those 2 sections are the ones I like. The rest of the museum are to heavy for my forte. I didn't stay there for long because I have to go back to the hotel to pick up my luggage and head straight to the airport to catch my plane home.

P.S there's a 10$ admission ticket to go in, so think twice penny pinchers